ASIA/IRAQ - The Chaldean Patriarch in the 'message for Ramadan': let's remove the definitions that offend Christians from school texts

Monday, 12 April 2021 middle east   oriental churches   ramadan   school  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - "On the occasion of the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, I extend my sincere congratulations and my sincere blessings to our Muslim brothers and sisters, asking the Almighty God to bless their fasting and make them enjoy health, security and to spare them and all humanity from the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic". This is what Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako writes in a short and intense message of good wishes addressed to his fellow citizens of Islamic faith at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the special time that Islamic communities around the world dedicate to fasting, prayer and to alms.
In the text of the message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Patriarch hopes that this special time for Muslims "will become an opportunity to get closer to God and to people through fasting, prayer, acts of charity, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation, and to deepen the bonds of brotherhood, friendship and respect that Pope Francis recalled during his visit to our country from 5 to 8 March".
The Primate of the Chaldean Church hopes that Ramadan will also become an opportunity to "promote the principles of peace, stability and coexistence, so as to open a new positive page in the life of Iraqis, so that everyone can enjoy happiness after all evils they have suffered". The message is not limited to general considerations in favor of coexistence between different components of Iraqi society, but ends with a very concrete request: "On this occasion", writes Patriarch Sako, "I ask for the adoption of the denomination of Christians as 'People of the Book', which must be included in textbooks used in national schools to replace other erroneous and unacceptable definitions".
In some school books, even in Iraq, Christians are still referred to as "infidels" or "polytheists" (takfir, kafir), typical expressions of the anti-Christian controversy of Islamic origin. The definition that the Patriarch suggests adopting to indicate Christians in school texts is also of Islamic origin, as mentioned in the Koran. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/4/2021)