05/04/2007, 00.00
IRAQ

Iraq’s Chaldean bishop’s appeal to the Sharm el-Sheikh summit and the world’s Muslims

The prelates publish a letter addressed to the international representatives gathered in Egypt for the future of Iraq. They ask for an end to violence against Christians and a return to the united effort to rebuild the country in peace and respect of diversity.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – “Let us unite ourselves to put an end to this violence to this folly of human reason”: this is the invitation extended by a group of Chaldean bishops to the entire world, and above all to “our Muslim brothers”, and the representatives of the international community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, to discuss the future of the Country.  The appeal which reached AsiaNews asks for an end to the persecution of Christians, bowed by “threats, requisitions, kidnappings and killings”; that something is done to stop the “cultural, institutional and economic” destruction of Iraq; that all of the countries social and religious components “unite for the common goal of peace”.

Here we publish the full unedited version of the message, as it was received by AsiaNews, signed by the Chaldean bishops from North Iraq.  The prelates explain that the “original text was also sent to Iraqi media in an effort to promote true reconciliation”.

 "In these last four years our Iraqi people have suffered and continue to suffer from threats, kidnappings, forced exile, attacks and killings which have provoked thousands of innocent victims and the total destruction of the Iraqi institutions and national infrastructure.  All of this is a folly of human reason.

This is why we are urgently asking the entire international community, the participants at the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference, the coalition forces and the Iraqi political representatives to intervene without delay to protect innocent Iraqis, their property, their rights and their personal freedom.   We also appeal to all of the religious authorities to let their voices be heard in the defence of the salvation of our country and its sons and daughters, so that the wonderful social fabric of our Iraqi society may be kept whole, because its loss would mean the disastrous destruction of an ancient cultural and religious civilisation.

We particularly ask that the threats, kidnappings and forced emigration of our Christians people is stopped and we affirm most strenuously that the Christians are authentic Iraqi people, one of the most ancient parts of the population.  Christians have always sought to integrate themselves with their Arab, Kurd, Turk, Shiite, Sunni, Yezidi brothers, within the nations’ social life and have always had a most important role in the building of national historic values, decisively contributing to the destiny of Iraq through their peaceful way of life.

Moreover, we confirm the essential relationship between Christianity and Islam, as monotheistic religions through their teachings they both aim to spread Charity, the Common Good and Peace.  God knows of our differences, which exists by his Divine will: “If Your Lord had wanted, he would have created all men as one nation” (Koran, Yonis, 99). We must accept his divine design and respect diversity, which makes of us one garden with different flowers, of which each one glorifies God the creator with his own perfume.

We believe that religion is a catalyst for peace and we are convinced that God reveals himself with great clarity in the practise of Peace, Justice, Mercy, Tolerance, Reconciliation and Forgiveness. 

My brothers, enough with violence, threats, attacks and killings! Let us work together hand in hand to bring about Unity, Security and Prosperity in our land, Iraq.

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