ASIA/IRAQ -Chaldean Patriarch proposes to Iranian and Iraqi Shiites the creation of a Standing Committee for Dialogue

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 dialogue   islam   oriental churches

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – A Standing Committee for Dialogue between representatives of Shiite religious centres and the Chaldean Patriarchate to tackle together in friendly cooperation difficulties experienced by the local people. This concrete proposal emerged during a visit on Monday 25 July to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Ist by four representatives of the Shiite academic institution of Najaf (Iraq) and Qom (Iran). The delegation was composed of Sheikh Aladdin Jazairi (who also has responsibilities in the al Nujaba Movement, recognised by a Shiite militia), Sheikh Jassim Mandalawi, and Sheikhs Hamid Reza and Hamid Albabai, leading members of the Centre for Dialogue in Qom, the Iranian city where the country’s most important academic institutions of Shiite Islam are found.
The form of dialogue in construction would appear complementary to that already used by the Shiite academic realities and Vatican institutions. “We Christians of the East” Patriarch Louis Raphael I tells Fides “can and must be leading actors in dialogue with the realities of Islam. We live here, we speak the same language, we face the same difficulties and the same evils, we are familiar with things from the inside. Every occasion is right for creating channels of dialogue at the local level, which can help undo many knots encountered by Christian communities in these dramatic times”.
The Primate of the Chaldean Church realises that at the moment “Sunni Muslims face many difficulties regarding the liberation of their towns from DAESH, but, in future, a committee of dialogue launched with the Shiites could possibly involve them too, and become a channel of dialogue between Christians and Muslims”. The Chaldean Patriarch also hypothesizes certain points on which dialogue could focus attention : “With friendly frankness I told the Shiites that there can be no future unless the language of religious preaching is updated. I outlined briefly for them the experience of Christians : in the long run, without this updating people start to lose interest in religion. Preaching and dialogue must be concrete, it must take into consideration the present moment in time and real difficulties: before strictly academic and theological questions, we can begin to discuss social issues, including those of justice and recognition of human rights. These are the fields in which we must begin to search for shared solutions”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/7/2016).