11/18/2013, 00.00
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Patriarch Sako: Task of government and religious leaders to unite Iraq

by Joseph Mahmoud
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."

Baghdad ( AsiaNews) - The Iraqi reality is still a source of "concern" and in recent months the security situation has "deteriorated"; sectarian divisions are becoming more pronounced, while "regional and international" powers feed the growing fractures inside the country. This was stated by the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, in a speech yesterday before the Iraqi parliament on the occasion of Human Rights Day. The intervention of His Beatitude was an opportunity for encounter and exchange between the different souls of the nation, to exchange ideas and projects inspired by the theme "Minorities in Iraq: reality and Ambition".

The Chaldean Patriarch did not fail to emphasize the exponential growth "of extremism of a religious nature" which particularly affects Christians, Yazidis and Sabi (a minority concentrated in southern Iraq ) . Attacks that have triggered emigration, which Mar Sako has long battled against - since the days when he was archbishop of Kirkuk - but "favored " by some foreign embassies . "A phenomenon - he pointed out - that ends up impoverishing the nation."

Describing the current "reality", the Chaldean Patriarch pointed the finger at "the culture of the Majority and Minority" which he termed "unsuccessful because it is a political term that carries an aspect of exclusion and marginalization on account of equal citizenship and especially of the rights of minorities".  Ahead of travelling to Rome in the next few days for the Plenary Assembly of the Eastern Churches, Mar Sako traced some essential points for the reconstruction of the country. First of all, he pointed to the "unique and irreplaceable" role of religious leaders "in uniting the people." The Patriarch warned that the various groups must "work together to promote a culture of dialogue and peace in a tangible way" also focusing on "mutual recognition".

Mar Sako also said government and administrative offices that need to be united and work together "to provide safety, security and freedom to citizens and various ethnic groups". They must also be guarantors of "reconciliation and social cohesion" among all souls. The "culture of peace" , warned the Patriarch, is also the result of "mutual care " between people and "dialogue and trust". He invited everyone to assume "their responsibilities in building bridges rather than walls" and adopt a "balanced dialogue, open to all and ready to solve problems," so that all the souls of Iraq may feel "they are part of one single family".



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