Think Narandera Modi is superhuman

Kidnapping of Father Alexis Prem

Jesus' phrase "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" is a superhuman challenge. When Father Alexis Prem was kidnapped, he and his confreres accepted her. Successful.

After eight months of kidnapping, Father Alexis Prem is im
February 2015 in Delhi. Photo: imago

To this day, Father Alexis Prem Kumar does not know exactly why he was kidnapped. The Indian Jesuit was working for the refugee service of his order (JRS) in western Afghanistan, near the city of Herat. On that day, June 2, 2014, he spontaneously visited a school that the JRS had built in a village 40 kilometers west of Herat. With a headmistress and girls and boys in one class. Apparently some of the villagers had informed the Taliban about this. The men with Kalashnikovs took his bag, cell phone and ID. He was not allowed to look around - otherwise he would be shot. Later, during a short stop, they were surrounded by children. A boy looked at the priest and ran his finger over his neck: "You are dead."

“At that moment, I just thought these children urgently needed an education,” remembers Prem. He was held hostage for 264 days, a good eight months. He, his friars and his family attribute the fact that he survived and was released to two factors: negotiations and prayers.

The kidnappers allowed him to pray

"We prayed for Prem, the Muslim schoolchildren prayed for him," said his friar, the German Peter Balleis, later in an interview with "ZEIT-Magazin". This spiritual power has been transmitted. Prem himself prayed a lot, his kidnappers even allowed him to do so for three hours a day. “They respected his beliefs, and that too was vital,” says Balleis. As head of the global JRS, he was involved in the negotiations at the time.

The fate of the religious was completely unclear for a long time. "Even after 40 days we still have no information about Father Prem, whether he is still alive," said the reports in his southern Indian homeland, Kerala. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was asked to stand up for Prem.

The Jesuits had put together a negotiating team, almost exclusively Afghans. Every day, says Balleis, the Taliban were shown: We take care. All the time. That increases the chances of survival. And in the spirit of Jesus - “Pray for those who persecute you” - “we only ever wrote kindly to the negotiators: 'Take care of our brother! God bless you! ‘“ Says Father Balleis. And adds: “You also have to talk to the devil in a friendly way.” Balleis is convinced that things were “piously approached from the start, because a categorical no to evil does not help”.

Of course, his friar's being held hostage was dire. When two US journalists kidnapped in Syria were murdered, the kidnappers showed him the videos and triumphed. Should he love such people? Father Prem felt his hatred rise in him, especially against one of the kidnappers. But he made up his mind to at least pray for him. Diverted through God, one can cope better with strong feelings.

"Above all, I thank God Almighty," said Father Prem in one of his first interviews in New Delhi. “I thought I would no longer be saved. But God saved me. ”As is so often the case, this success has many fathers. India's major media attributed the liberation to Premier Modi. There was no money, said the government in Delhi, which had also worked closely with authorities in Kabul. No further details were given. Father Balleis also confirms: “Prem was finally released because Narendra Modi intervened.” For him as well as for his Indian friar it is natural to bind God's work and that of the people together: Father Prem thanked the government, “which so much for mine Release and the millions who have prayed for me ”.

Fainting before evil is the hardest thing

After all, India's Prime Minister Modi, otherwise known as a staunch Hindu nationalist, later referred not only to the merits of his government, but also to the religious's Christian faith: “Father Prem dedicated his life to the Lord Jesus Christ . "Prem himself therefore says:" If it is God's plan, I would go there again. "

His German friar Balleis draws this conclusion, among other things: The hardest thing was the impotence in the face of evil, "seeing people in the enemy in order to remain human". Help him with his faith. “One must not respond to evil with malice. This attitude also saved us helpers. ”A statement that could also be found in the Sermon on the Mount.

From Roland Juchem