Paolo Dall'Oglio, December 2012 in Iraq
November 17, 1954|
|Died||Presumed dead in 2013|
Father Paolo Dall'Oglio (born November 17, 1954) is an Italian Jesuit priest and peace activist. He was exiled from Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad in 2012 for meeting with members of the opposition and criticizing the actions of the al-Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on 29 July 2013.
Before his kidnapping, he had served for three decades at the Deir Mar Musa, a 6th-century monastery 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Damascus. He has been credited with the reconstruction of the Mar Musa complex and its reinvention as a centre of interfaith dialogue.
In 1984, Dall'Oglio was ordained priest in the Syriac Catholic rite. In the same year, he obtained a degree in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Naples Eastern University "L'Orientale" and in Catholic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In 1986, he obtained another master's degree in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In 1989, he obtained a PhD degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic "About Hope in Islam".
In 1992, he established the mixed monastic and ecumenical Community al-Khalil ("the Friend of God" - Biblical and Qu'ranic byname of the patriarch Abraham in Arabic language), dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue and located firstly in the refurbished Deir Mar Musa.
He contributed regularly to the magazine "Popoli", the international magazine of the Italian Jesuits, established in 1915.
Role in the Syrian civil war
In 2011, Paolo Dall'Oglio wrote an article pleading for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria, based on what he called "consensual democracy". He also met with opposition activists and participated in the funeral service for the 28-year-old Christian filmmaker Bassel Shehadeh, who had been murdered in Homs.
The Syrian government reacted sharply and issued an expulsion order. Paolo Dall'Oglio ignored the order for a couple of months and continued living in Syria. However, following the publication of an open letter to UN special envoy Kofi Annan in May 2012, he obeyed his bishop who urged him to leave the country. He left Syria on 12 June 2012 and joined in exile the newly established Deir Maryam al-Adhra of his community in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.
In late July 2013 Paolo Dall'Oglio entered rebel held territory in eastern Syria but was soon kidnapped by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, while walking in Raqqa on 29 July. Opposition sources from Raqqa said that Paolo Dall'Oglio has been executed by the extremist group  and his body thrown into a ground hole in the city of Raqqa, called “Al-Houta”. Dead Assad loyalist soldiers would have often been thrown into the same hole. The claims are not yet confirmed.
- (in Italian) Speranza nell'Islam: Interpretazione della prospettiva escatologica di Corano XVIII, 365 pp., Marietti, Milano 1991, ISBN 978-8-8211-7461-2
- (in French) Amoureux de l'islam, croyant en Jésus, in cooperation with Églantine Gabaix-Hialé, preface by Régis Debray, 190 pp., Les Editions de l'Atelier, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-7082-4044-5
- (in Italian) La sete di Ismaele. Siria, diario monastico islamo-cristiano, Gabrielli Editori, Verona 2011, ISBN 978-8-8609-9141-6
- (in French) La démocratie consensuelle, pour l’unité nationale, 27 July 2011, published on the official website of the monastery of Mar Musa
- (in French) La rage et la lumière, in cooperation with Églantine Gabaix-Hialé, Les Editions de l'Atelier, Paris, May 2013
- "Father Paolo Urges Canadians to Help the People of Syria". Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- "Father Paolo Dall'Oglio: "Please take care of Syria"". Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- "Syria Expels Activist Roman Catholic Priest". Retrieved August 3, 2012.
- "KU Leuven Honorary doctors 2009". Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- "Confessional In-Fighting". Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- "Syria, an open letter to Kofi Annan by Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio". Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- "Father Dall'Oglio welcomed in the monastic community which began in Sulaymanya, in Iraqi Kurdistan". Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- "A Paolo Dall'Oglio il Premio Pace Regione Lombardia". Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- Oweis, Khaled (29 July 2013). "Al Qaeda group kidnaps Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio in Syria: activists". Reuters. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Paolo Dall'Oglio killed
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paolo Dall'Oglio.|
- Marius Kociejowski, The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool: A Syrian Journey Sutton Publishing Stroud 2004, contains a chapter on Paolo Dall'Oglio A Desert Father
- Guyonne de Montjou, Mar Moussa, un monastère, un homme, un désert (French edition), Albin Michel, Paris 2006
- Manoël Pénicaud, Paolo Dall'Oglio, le père bâtisseur, article in Le Monde des religions, No. 49, September–October 2011
- Dana Greene, Witness in the desert: Deir Mar Musa home to monastic community faithful to ideals of sixth-century founder, article in National Catholic Reporter, December 29, 2006
- "We Know We Have Brothers and Sisters in the Islamic Tradition", interview with Paolo Dall'Oglio, November 11, 2009
- Short biography of Paolo Dall'Oglio on the website of the Sham Spiritual Oasis project
- Hoping for a Victory without Revenge Interview with Father Paolo Dall'Oglio on Syria, Qantara.