Monday, 5 May 2003

Baghdad (Fides Service) - “Democracy in Iraq is possible and this is what we hope for as Christians, because a system of authentic democracy would enable us to stay in our country” Father Nizar of Ninive diocese tells Fides Service. “What we would like to see is real democracy which lasts even after the American troops have gone home”.
Fr Nizar says “We listened to the speech made by President Bush and we were pleased by what he said: however history has taught us to believe more in facts than words. So now we want to see these words put into practice”.
The Catholic priest explains how Iraqi Christians see the new Iraq: “a multi-party system with political groups open to everyone without distinction of ethnic or religious origin. This means no religious parties, Muslim, Christian or other. It will also be necessary to make sure that the tribal system is not allowed to dominate government and ensure that the government members are people with the right training and preparation. Another priority is education of the new generations in reformed schools and universities, with new text books (particularly those used to teach Arabic which more than studies of the language are studies of the Koran) and study subjects which promote values of peace, democracy, liberty, respect for differences, opening to the rest of the world. What is more the new constitution must guarantee that Iraq is a secular state where all citizens enjoy equality and freedom of religion”.
Father Nizar says this can only be achieved if the international community “is able to prevent external powers from financing the various extremist movements of Sunni and Shiite Muslims which operate in Iraq.”
“On these conditions – Father Nizar concludes – Iraqi Christians are willing to offer full support to the installation of authentic democracy and to put themselves and their Christian culture at the service of their country”. LM (Fides Service 5/5/2003 EM lines 30 Words: 349)

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