11/23/2021, 11.48
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Rebuilding the country, growing in faith: the message of young Iraqi Christians

by Dario Salvi

AsiaNews has gathered the testimonies of some of the 450 young people who participated in the meeting promoted by the Chaldean Church in Baghdad. The hope of overcoming wars, violence and the pandemic. The ideal of belonging to a community at the service of others, including Muslims, in a "spirit of charity". 

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - To be part of the reconstruction of a nation battered by war, violence and the Covid-19 pandemic, to strengthen belonging to the Chaldean Church and to live one's mission in the service of others with a "spirit of charity". This is the message that some young people, present at the meeting promoted by the Chaldean Church from November 18 to 20 in Baghdad, wanted to entrust to AsiaNews. Three days of discussion and prayer that allowed 450 boys and girls to "get closer" to the faith and to reflect on the future of the Christian community and of the Iraqi nation itself. As the Patriarch, Card. Louis Raphael Sako, underlined in his introductory speech, they are "our pride" and have an essential role thanks to their "creative impulse" to build a Church that is increasingly "alive and strong".

Below are the testimonies collected by AsiaNews with the collaboration of Chaldean priest Fr. Albert Hisham: 

Merna Nimat Ayad

23 , originally from Baghdad

Degree in Economics, works in a bank

Faith has helped me a lot in my practical life and in my studies, but above all in my daily life and in my difficulties: it has given me the strength to overcome pain and at times has been the only source of joy and hope. For my country I ask for greater stability and more room for freedom. And that Christians may be able to participate more effectively in the life of the nation. In these years, in the wars and the pandemic, we have lost many relatives: an uncle of mine was killed by terrorists. With the migration we have also lost many acquaintances, but the first to have suffered is Iraq itself because many of its Christians have disappeared. What remains of these days of meetings is the attention and the interest of the Church towards young people. 

Daniella Rafeeq

24, from Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Graduate in medicine, works as a doctor 

Faith has changed the way I look at life, because I know that God is with me and gives me the strength to face crises, fears and difficulties, not to give in to despair. On a personal level I always try to carry out my mission which is to witness to Christ, so that with our gestures we can be a vivid example of charity towards all Iraqis. Living in Erbil, a relatively safe area, I did not face persecution or violence, but I learned to put myself at the service of migrants and refugees who came to my city. With Covid, I then realized how important it is to be more responsible towards the lives of others, relatives and otherwise. Finally, thanks to this meeting I was able to visit Baghdad, which is very beautiful in spite of the wars; then coming together with young people from north to south reminded me of the common belonging to the Chaldean Church, in a society with a Muslim majority.

Waleed Khalid Wiliam

23 years old from Basra, southern Iraq

He studied medicine and is now a dental surgeon.

Faith has been a great help in many difficult times in the past and has given me great strength. On a personal level I would like to contribute to the reform and development of my country, collaborating to improve it through honesty and sincerity [against any kind of corruption], participating in an active way in the different sectors of our multifaceted society. The Covid-19 and the violence are difficult circumstances that have brought out the essence of Christians, the spirit of charity, the material and moral assistance especially in favor of the victims of wars and those affected by unemployment. For the Christian community to grow, it is important that meetings between young people can be repeated in the future, bringing more and more people closer to the faith.

Ansam Yousif Zaya Allos
Originally from Kirkuk, 35 years old
Graduate in computer science, works as a municipal employee 

In these troubled years, faith has been a source of great inner peace, of trust in a merciful God who always loves me, even when I myself am unable to do so. For Iraq I would like a bright future and this hope also depends on the Christians, who are the salt and light of this society. First the wars, Isis, then the pandemic were "painful days" for us Christians, who are still called "minority". But through our being a community and encounters like this one, the hope is to become a lit candle that sheds light in the midst of this darkness. During these days I felt part of one family that is the Church, learning through its eyes to read the word of God. 

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