ASIA/IRAQ - “Only now Iraqis slowly discover democracy. Ideological pacifism plays the game of fundamentalism” Iraqi priest comments UN resolution

Wednesday, 9 June 2004

Baghdad (Fides Service)- “The new UN resolution and release of the four foreign hostages is good news” Father Nizar Semaan, a Catholic priest in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul told Fides. “These latest events show that the moderate line is the right one ” Father Nizar said. “I respect the opinion of pacifists and those who insist that coalition forces in Iraq should withdraw. However they do not know Iraqi. A withdrawal of the coalition troops would only throw the country into chaos and the weakest members of society, women and children, would be the ones to suffer most. Ideological pacifism is playing the game of the fundamentalists ”.
“Of course everyone in Iraq wants the country to be independent and sovereign” Father Nizar told Fides. “However at the moment we still need the help of the coalition. Security is not assured because the Iraqi police force is still being restructured. For example kidnappings for extortion are frequent. But people are collaborating more and more with the authorities offering information about bandits and terrorists. This is an important point because it shows that the temporary government is gaining the people’s trust ”.
“To the pacifists I would say: get informed about Iraq. You must realise that it takes more than a couple of days to build democracy? Did you think that free elections could be held immediately after the fall of Saddam?. Only now Iraq is slowly discovering democracy. Political parties are getting organised. We have a free press, something which would have been impossible only a year ago. People still fail to realise that they can now actually say what they think!. This situation is totally new for Iraqis. But our institutions are still weak and we need the help of the international community”.
“The new Resolution passed by the United Nations is vitally important because it outlines the path of return to full sovereignty accompanied by the international community and the coalition forces which now have fully UN backing ” Father Nizar told Fides. “This does not mean that the violence will stop immediately. Unfortunately it will be some time before the extremists are defeated. But I am convinced that they will give up in the end if we give all our support to moderate Islam which wants peace”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 9/6/2004 righe 32 parole 287)