Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – The principle of citizenship is for “all people to live in a land of all peoples”, in a nation whose citizens are all equal, free of any discrimination cultural, ethnic or religious. A land where definitions of majority or minority do not exist. This was said by Iraqi President Barham Salih, when he received on 28 November in the Palace of Peace, the Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East Council of Churches, meeting in Baghdad for their 26th session.
Barham Salih, himself, who belongs to the Kurd minority, told his guests of his intention to serve as a “guardian of the Constitution of Iraq”, in order to protect diversity and promote a spirit of tolerance and harmony and authentic national reconciliation. The President assured those present that in his relations with the Christians in the country and all other vital components of the Iraqi population categories of majority or minority will not be applied. Moreover after listening to advice and requests from the representatives of the Middle East Catholic Churches, Barham Salih spoke of his recent meeting with Pope Francis during an audience in the Vatican on Saturday 24 November. The Iraqi president said on that occasion he invited the Pope to visit Iraq to pray together with other religious leaders in memory of Abraham, the father of all believers.
The gathering of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, hosted by Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako and which will end on Friday 30 November, sees also the participation of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, Copt Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, Melkite Patriarch Youssef Absi, Armenian Catholic Patriarch Krikor Bedros XX Ghabroyan, Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Bishop William Shomali (representing the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) and professor Ms Souraya Bechealany, Secretary general of the Middle East Council of Churches. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 29/11/2018).