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    » 11/18/2015, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Patriarch of Baghdad welcomes amendments to Law on Islamization of children

    Joseph Mahmoud

    The Iraqi parliament begins process to change the controversial bill, accepting the objections of Christians and other minorities. An act of "justice" and "equality" that equates all citizens. Mar Sako: This is an "important message" and a "test of our democracy".

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "I am deeply satisfied with the Iraqi parliament’s decision to change" the controversial article 26 of the Constitution on the Islamization of children. "This decision shows support and is an important message for the minorities [Christian] in Iraq. It is also a clear demonstration of democracy" the Chaldean Patriarch caldeo Mar Louis Raphael I Sako tells AsiaNews. The religious leader is overjoyed by the Parliamentary Assembly decision to revise the norm under which children of a couple where one parent converts to Islam would automatically be considered Muslim. Yesterday, MEPs voted a resolution amending the norm, in response to requests made by the representatives of minorities, led by the Christian community.

    In recent months an amendment which provided that children remain in the religion of birth up to 18 years and then decide personally about their faith had been tabled. But at the end of October, the Iraqi Parliament had rejected this proposal, sparking the protests of the Iraqi Christian community and the leaders of the Chaldean Church.

    Patriarch Sako had circulated a strongly worded letter, threatening to bring the matter and the parliamentarians before the international courts. The leader of the Chaldean Church had also led protests (pictured) in the following days, rallying in front of the church of Saint George in Baghdad; members of the Chaldean community were even joined by representatives of the Muslim community.

    In yesterday’s vote, the Iraqi parliament decided to amend Art. 26 of the Constitution, by 140 out of a total of 206. The Assembly heard the protests of civil organization and some parliamentary colleagues from the minority, which had fought hard for the approval of an amendment on the "Islamization of their children."

    For the Iraqi Christian community it is an act of "justice" and "equality", which really puts all citizens on the same level, as well as a key step in the direction "of freedom and democracy in Iraq." "The Chaldean Patriarchate – read a statement released after the vote - thanks all parliamentarians and those who have supported the amendment of this unjust article ".

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    See also

    09/11/2015 IRAQ
    Patriarch of Baghdad: Invokes International Court against law on Islamization of children
    Mar Sako leads Church's battle against the controversial Iraqi norm on religious freedom. The patriarch appeals to President to send norm back to parliament for further discussion. A struggle for justice and equality "among all Iraqi citizens".

    18/11/2013 IRAQ
    Patriarch Sako: Task of government and religious leaders to unite Iraq
    Speaking to Parliament in Baghdad on human rights, His Beatitude describes a reality that is "a source of concern." Security has "deteriorated" as have divisions of a confessional nature , fanned by " regional and international" powers. He calls for an end to the divisions and asks for greater courage from political and religious leaders to "unite the people."

    11/11/2015 IRAQ
    Baghdad, Christians and Muslims take to streets against the law Islamization children
    Patriarch Mar Sako leads the protest of the Christians against article 26 of the Constitution, which violates religious freedom. Patriarch denounces a coercive norm children and confirms intention to appeal to the highest international bodies. He also reminds parliamentarians that there are other priorities: corruption, Islamic state, poverty, education.

    02/05/2016 13:48:00 IRAQ
    Mar Sako appeals to politicians to stop divisions, focus on shared plans for Iraq’s rebirth

    The Chaldean Patriarch sends a tough rebuke against the country’s rulers, who have failed to promote reforms and reconciliation, calling for action against Iraq’s “institutional, economic and security deterioration”. As Green Zone protest ends, government’s wrath begins.



    11/04/2016 15:01:00 IRAQ
    Patriarch Sako: Iraqi Church needs youth, courageous witnesses of faith

    At least 350 young people take part in a meeting with the leader of the Chaldean Church. His Beatitude mentioned the consecrated life as a choice, urging young people to respond to the need of those who suffer. The Patriarchate slammed trafficking in Christian refugees, called for the liberation of jihadi-controlled areas to allow the return of displaced people.





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