ASIA/IRAQ - Heads of Churches and Christian politicians: may our unity lead the way to national reconciliation

Friday, 4 November 2016 wars   sectaniarism   oriental churches   ecumenicalism

Erbil (Agenzia Fides) - In the delicate phase that Iraqi is going through, ahead of the uncertain prospects that will open after the total liberation of Mosul by jihadist militiamen of the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh), Christians are called to demonstrate their unity also at an operational level, not only to protect their prerogatives of national component, but also to promote the reconciliation of the Iraqi people and to prevent that the imminent recovery of the territories still in the hands of jihadists unleash centrifugal forces and more sectarian rifts.
This is the perspective indicated by the Heads of Christian Churches rooted in the region and of many of the Christian political representatives operating in both the national parliament and in the Parliament of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, who met yesterday, Thursday, November 3, in Ankawa – a predominantly Christian district of Erbil - to reflect and elaborate proposals on the future that awaits the Country after the liberation of Mosul.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East, and Nicodemus Daoud Matti Sharaf, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Mosul. It is important that Christians show themselves equal to the responsibilities required by the moment, and express a unified position in dealing with problems and present emergencies. Also because, with regards to what will happen after the liberation of Mosul, one already perceives the absence of a clear political project, and a number of possible scenarios.
Among the points discussed during the meeting, listed in the note sent to Agenzia Fides, it is first of all underlined the opportunity for the Christian component to move in a unified way on the social scene and Iraqi politics, maintaining the identity of the individual groups, but avoiding that every single Church and community each pursue their requests in an isolated manner, and especially avoiding mutual intolerance, since "our strength lies in our unity". That is why the Heads of the Churches and Christian politicians have also given an indication to refrain from provocative and divisive critical statements through the media. Among the emergencies to face, strongly marked by the interventions of many participants, the need to combat with all legal means the change of the demographic structure of the liberated areas, ensuring the return of displaced persons and providing legal measures that allow individual ethnic and religious communities to have a role in the political and administrative management of settlement areas, in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution. During the meeting the proposal to create a team of competent Christian people in matters related to politics, economy and social dynamics was also underlined, and becomes an operational tool authorized to offer the institutions the contribution of proposals and suggestions on behalf of Christian communities, in favor of the process of national reconciliation. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2016)