ASIA/IRAQ - The Chaldean Patriarch: In this critical phase, Christians must keep calm and put aside unrealistic projects

Saturday, 6 May 2017 oriental churches   middle east   area crisis   international politics   sectaniarism

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - While the anti-caliphate forces progressively re-conquer Mosul, and interventions tighten on the future political structure of the regions subjugated to the control of the jihadis of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh), Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako expresses his brief but effective interpretation of the complex moment crossed by Iraq, suggesting Christians to be calm and not to be dazzled by unrealistic and untimely proposals.
The Patriarch's text, released by the official channels of the Patriarchate, seems to refer to the assumptions - recently raised by Iraqi Christian politicians (see Fides 5/5/2017) - to establish protected areas reserved for ethnic religious minorities in northern Iraq - including Christian ones - by providing them with administrative autonomy or even submitting them to guarantees and systems of international protection. At present - says the Primate of the Chaldean Church in the text sent to Agenzia Fides - the priority for so many Iraqi Christians is to try to return to their home towns and homes, who were forced to leave in 2014 in front of the jihadist offensive. This implies the urgent need to reconstruct destroyed infrastructure, and it is legitimate and desirable to ask the Iraqi government and also international organizations and actors - including the US - to support the effort of reconstruction - said the Patriarch. In this process - continues Patriarch Sako - it will be convenient to entrust the management of the political and administrative institutions of the area to the representatives of the local people. The contribution of neutral external observers who watch over the processes of real integration between the various ethnic-religious components may also be asked for, avoiding that groups of citizens are considered "unfaithful" or discriminated. But only after the return of stability in the Country - says the Primate of the Chaldean Church - processes can be initiated to require the creation of new autonomous administrative units as instruments to protect the rights and continuity of the presence of minority ethnic-religious groups.
Christians, especially at this moment in time – insists Patriarch Louis Raphael - are called to wise choices, starting from "keeping away from the political conflicts surrounding them, without getting involved in them".
The perspective suggested by the Patriarch to Iraqi Christians for the present moment is to "take the initiative to build together a civilian country with other citizens, with a modern and democratic state, where the Constitution is respected which guarantees full rights of citizenship".
The hope is that the after Daesh is not marked by new sectarian conflicts, which would lead to "other bloodshed, or even the birth of a new "Daesh, even more aggressive than the first". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 6/5/2017)