October 22, 2012

Franciscans ministering in a village along the Syrian border with Turkey said four people, including three Christian youths, were kidnapped and beaten before being released as the civil war surged in their community.

In a brief message Oct. 4 to Franciscan officials in Rome, Franciscans in Knayeh reported that the kidnappings were carried out by individuals identified only as “terrorists.

We had to pay a considerable sum to free them, and they have returned after being badly beaten and tortured,” said the message from an unidentified Franciscan.

The fourth victim was Alawite, a member of a Middle Eastern religion founded in the 10th century.

Its members revere Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed, the founder of Islam.