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  • » 01/19/2015, 00.00


    Chaldean Patriarch: Christians and Muslims must lead the fight against fundamentalism

    Joseph Mahmoud

    Mar Sako calls on "our brother" Muslims, to be the "first" to reject "all forms" of discrimination and violence. He points the finger at those who use religion to gain power. He invites the faithful of Islam to be promoters of a project of inter-religious peace and harmony, starting from an "open and enlightened" revision of the sacred and historical texts.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "We call upon our fellow Muslims to take the initiative and lead a campaign of rejecting any Sectarian discrimination". This was the invitation launched by the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, speaking at a conference organized at the weekend in Baghdad by the Iraqi Center for Diversity Management (ICDM). The patriarch was appealing to more than 1.6 billion Muslims, mostly moderate, around the world, inviting them to promote a joint project to "dismantle the fundamentalist ideology" in all its forms. A proposal that, to be successful, must be supported and guided by the very same followers of Islam.

    In his speech, Mar Sako speaks of the drama of the Christians of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, where about 500 thousand people have fled between June and August of last year, following the advance of the Islamic State, who founded a caliphate and imposed sharia. Christians, along with other religious minorities, "were once the majority" and have "strong ties" with the territory; they contributed - adds Mar Sako - to the construction of Iraq and development of the same Islamic culture.

    These communities "are now marginalized" and "have been treated in a harsh and brutal manner", so that today in Mosul and the Nineveh plain of "there is not a single Christian left".  For the patriarch of Baghdad the biggest threat "is not just the terrorism of the Islamic state" or other "terrorist organizations", rather the "takfiris" ideology which considers Muslims opposed to the ideology of violence and oppression as "unbelievers". He points the finger at "forces" who commit violence and focus on the logic of power "covered by the cloak of religion".

    In an effort to overcome one of the most difficult periods in the history of Iraq, the Middle East region and the Christians of the region, Mar Sako proposes a common project focused on three main points: Building an open and enlightened Islamic opinion by thoroughly reviewing the texts; Adopting the appropriate interpretation of the texts closing the door to those who are influencing the mentality of young people to use violence in the name of religion; Finally, the promotion of a "culture of acceptance and mutual understanding", as "brothers and citizens" of the same nation. In this, the role "of the Muslim religious and political authorities" will be essential in overcoming "all forms of violence."

    Thanking those responsible ICDM in Baghdad for its commitment to the promotion of a "culture of peaceful co-existence" and "respect for diversity and pluralism", Mar Sako concludes saying that "there is no other future" than that of "peace, harmony and cooperation." A goal shared by Muslims, Christians, believers of other religions, and that must also be supported "by the media" which should provide information and content "respectful of religions" and the sensibilities of believers.


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    See also

    21/07/2014 IRAQ
    Patriarch of Baghdad: Christians are part of Iraq, this storm will pass
    In an open letter addressed to "all men of good will and those who care for the Iraqi nation", Mar Sako reminds Muslim brothers that the actions of the self-styled Islamic State are contrary to the Koran and greatly damage the shared history all Iraqis of commitment for the nation. "We shared good memories and bad memories, mixing our blood for our land." The invitation to Christians to "calculate their options well, come together in love gathering around their church, being patient, enduring and praying until the storm passes".

    26/05/2016 13:58:00 IRAQ
    Archbishop of Kirkuk: Against violence and extremism, a "wide awake and merciful" Church

    Msgr. Yousif says the upcoming assembly of Chaldean clergy in Erbil must "chart a new path" in an era of "enormous changes and challenges." The priests also "essential" for the Muslims, because they assume a "bridge" role with modernity. The work of Catholic education and health care. The refugees from Mosul witnesses of a faith stronger than terrorism.

    12/10/2010 IRAQ
    Synod, an opportunity to stop the Christian exodus from Iraq
    Iraq’s Christian community could disappear if the international community does not intervene to guarantee its presence in this land. Emigration should be discouraged and Christian-Muslim reconciliation should be encouraged.

    10/05/2007 IRAQ
    Christian leaders join in Patriach Delly’s Iraq appeal
    The Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syrian-Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo said they were “moved” by the Chaldean Patriarch’s condemnation of Christian persecution in Iraq. They have urged Baghdad, the UN and international forces to “extinguish the flames in which all Iraqis are burning”. Mgr Gregotios Yohanna Ibrahim: “A plan is afoot to change the country’s social structure.”

    02/08/2004 IRAQ
    Christians in Iraq, two thousand years of history

    Editor's choices

    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan

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    May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

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    The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


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