DENVER — Six-year-old Christina Khodor Abada, taken in Iraq by ISIS from her mother’s arms at the age of 3, has been extracted from captivity and returned to her parents in Erbil, Iraq as of this morning, Friday, June 9.
Fr. Andre Mahanna founder of Denver-based Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope / St Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy, an international non-profit that gives direct aid to victims of the ISIS genocide of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, has been Christina’s advocate in the United States and recently spoke to President Donald J. Trump about her case.
Details of the rescue have yet to be released, but pictures and video from her home show family members and the community tearfully celebrating her return.
St Rafka’s partner in Lebanon and the case manager for Christiana, Mrs. Catherine Mousa, issued the following statement in Arabic:
“The child Christina Khodor Abada that was kidnapped by Daech ISIS comes back to her mother’s breast after three years. She was taken by force on August 22- 2014 and just returned today, June 9- 2017. Great thanksgiving to the Lord! My joy is indescribable! Thanks to all those who helped to return this little child to the breast of her mother.”
St Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy, named for a Lebanese nun who saved a young boy from his murderous pursuers by hiding him in her skirts, maintains case files on thousands of Middle East Christians who have been the victims of ISIS in hopes of bringing the abusers to justice and in providing them safe havens, education for their children and aid for their daily needs.
“I want to thank all those who helped us in bringing her back! This is the gift of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!” says Mahanna.
Mahanna, whose Mission has been following Christina’s story and has video interviews with her parents during the long ordeal, now seeks to bring the girl and her family to the United States to receive medical and psychological treatment for the trauma she has endured. “I beg help,” continues Mahanna, “in assuring her family and Christina that they will come to the USA for healing and peace!”
CONTACT: Dede Laugesen, 719-659-3121 c, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Andre Mahanna — Founder and Director of The Apostle of Our Lady of Hope / St Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy, www.savechristianmiddleeast.org; Director of the Office of Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations and Dialogue for the U.S. Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, www.eparchy.org; U.S.A. President of the Vatican Associated Office of the Apostolic Union of Clergy; Pastor of St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Lakewood, CO www.mercyandamerica.com • Secretary General for In Defense of Christians’ Religious Advisory Board
Media Assets Attached:
Photos and video from today’s liberation of Christina Khodor Abada for distribution.
Christina with her brother
Christina’s mother is in the back of the van
Video of Christina returned to her parents.
Facebook Live video of family and community celebrating her return (Emad Sabeeh)
Christina was three years old when she was kidnapped Aug. 22, 2014. She is now 6 years old. Pictured here with Emad Sabeeh, he is the journalist who helped the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/ St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy to form the first two videos where the parents of Christine tell the horrific story of her kidnapping and requesting our help.
Background interviews with Christina’s family can be found here: http://savechristianmiddleeast.org/our-videos/
The appeal image shows Christina’s father Mr Khodor Ezzo
Aeda Hanna, Christina’s mother. Ever since, Christian’s mother, Aeda Hanna, daily went behind enemies lines to try to sell herself in order to bring her daughter back.