6 October, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 04/20/2009
Nineveh Plain: a ghetto for Iraqi Christians is an illusion
by Louis Sako*
The Archbishop of Kirkuk comes out against a plan promoted by Iraqi political and religious leaders leaving abroad to set up a Christian enclave in the Nineveh Plain. The idea is meant to “save Christians” from attacks and violence, but it runs against Iraqi history and Christians’ mission and could accentuate the ongoing ethnic and religious confrontation in the country.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – Some political, intellectual and religious leaders from outside of Iraq have recently called for an autonomous zone, a “safe heaven”, for Christians.1 Now that the idea of an autonomous region in southern Iraq is no longer being discussed this interference will create serious problems. I express here my concerns as a pastor, not a politician.

Those who back the plan for Nineveh Plain live in relative security whilst we Iraqi Christians are exposed to terrorist attacks and death. Perhaps their noble intent is to help us but in fact they are acting without consulting us to determine our fate and future. Thus they pretend to decide on our behalf without any mandate.

The future of Iraqi Christians must be examined first and foremost by Christians who live in Iraq—Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenians—through the mediation of competent and disinterested political leaders called to take a clear position on the future of Christians.

Diaspora Christians can help us by maintaining awareness about our fate in world public opinion, but they should not take our place. We need to be helped so our right to determine our destiny can be recognised. Anyone who acts as our guardian in the end helps those who want to keep in a minority state.

In today’s Iraqi context the demand for a Christian enclave is a dangerous political game. It will be exploited by others and will be used against us. We must be objective, realistic and prudent. A Christian ghetto can inevitably lead to endless sectarian, religious and political clashes. Our freedom will be reduced.

We Christians are a fundamental component of the history and culture of Iraq. We are a significant presence in the social and religious life of the country and we feel Iraqi. We have resisted threats and persecution and have found ways to continue to live and bear witness to the Gospel in our land without ceasing being loyal citizens even at the cost of the lives of our fathers, brothers and sons.

Today we want to continue to be present and bear witness in all of our land, in the whole of Iraq. Demanding the creation of a ghetto is especially against the Christian message which sees us as the salt and yeast in the dough of humanity.

A good thing for the Christian community of this country is to encourage national unity, democracy, peaceful coexistence, a pluralistic culture, mutual recognition as humans with dignity, as well as cooperation with everyone to build a better society based on the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as guaranteed by the nation’s constitution and international law.

*Archbishop of Kirkuk

1. The plan to set up an “Assyrian ghetto” in the Nineveh Plains is strongly backed by the Christian Diaspora in the United States, which is exercising great influence on the Patriarchate of Baghdad, by Evangelical Christians, and by Kurdistan’s Finance Minister Sarkis Aghajan, who in the last few years has provided large funds for the reconstruction of many villages and churches in the north. The Vatican has never taken an explicit position on the issue but its Secretariat of State has been against the idea. Last January Benedict XVI, during the ad limina visit by Chaldean bishops, insisted that Christians must build ties of understanding “between Christians and Muslims’ and offer a “disinterested witness of charity [. . .] without distinction of origin and religion.”

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/06/2007 IRAQ
Chaldean synod: the names of two new bishops leaked
08/07/2015 IRAQ
For Mar Sako, one year after the Mosul tragedy, only unity and reconciliation can save Iraq
by Louis Raphael I Sako*
05/15/2008 IRAQ
Pressures to annex northern Christian villages to Kurdistan
08/16/2007 IRAQ
Ethnic cleansing first against Yazidis, soon against Christians
08/13/2014 IRAQ
Patriarch of Baghdad: USA, EU and the Arab League must clear Nineveh plain of Jihadists
by Louis Raphael I Sako *

Editor's choices
Pope: In “extremely difficult social and marital context”, Church called to carry out mission in fidelity, truth and charity.The opening Mass of the Synod on "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world," Pope Francis speaks of the paradoxes of global society: "power" accompanied by loneliness and helplessness." Today's man "ridicules" the family and love, but thirsts for it. The Church bears witness to indissoluble love, but must not forget to care and sustain "the man who falls or who errs." "A Church with closed doors betrays itself and its mission, and instead of being a bridge it becomes a barrier."
Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong in the top ten of the world economyWorld Economic Forum on competitiveness ranking published. Top three unchanged since last year: Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. Japan sixth, followed by Hong Kong. The world economy is slowing down compared to the previous decade, only exception- addition to China - India, which gains 16 positions.
Pope in the US: “We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us”In the last Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Francis Pope highlights the daily "little gestures" that define the family, which is “the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith". Gratitude, respect, and collaboration with families in which the Spirit operates can be found in every “family, people, region, or religion”.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.