Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - "It seems that the evil hand has put in place all that was planned to change the situation", causing untold suffering to the peoples of the Middle East. And "it is no secret" that "the intervention of external 'players' who acted according to their own ambitions in the region was crucial". They are the ones who "have used democracy and freedom as a cover to rob our natural resources, peace and freedom, and they have created chaos and terrorism in Iraq and the Middle East". This is how the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael I, outlined the underlying causes of the conflicts that are tearing apart his Country and the entire region. He did so in a speech prepared for the conference on the rights of religious minorities in the Muslim world, which is being held these days in Marrakech (Morocco).
In his speech, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Primate of the Chaldean Church identified in 2003 - the year of the US-led military intervention against the regime of Saddam Hussain - the beginning of the historical processes that are leading Iraq to drift on the basis of a "systematic and well planned order of the day" which also includes "the disappearance of Christians and other religious minorities". In his speech, Patriarch Louis Raphael also listed a series of recent episodes documenting the increasing discrimination against Christians in Iraqi society: "A female judge from Baghdad", said the Chaldean Patriarch, "rejected a Christian from the court as witness, claiming that Christians are not admitted as witnesses in Iraqi courts. Some Muslim builders have refused to build religious houses and residences for Christians, because identified as infidels. Militias in Baghdad have taken possession of Christian homes, their land and other properties. Posters were hung, even in public offices, asking Christian girls to wear the veil, following the example of the Virgin Mary". Among the urgent needs to be addressed to save the Middle East from the abyss in which it seems to be sinking, the Patriarch also referred to the need to train and promote "religious educated Muslims, who are opposed to fanaticism and sectarian mentality in words and deeds". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2016)