Iraqi Christians Towards Immigration!
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako
In Iraq, there is no strategy, security, or economic stability, nor the sovereignty, but rather an adoption of dual concepts of democracy, freedom, constitution, law and citizenship, practiced by those who swore an oath to preserve it for all Iraqis. As a result, the performance of state institutions has been weakened; a decline in moral and national values; deterioration of services, health and education; a wide spread of corruption; as well as the increase in unemployed people including graduates and a phenomenal illiteracy.
I am wondering, how can these officials pray and sleep while a large number of their citizens are groaning from hunger, poverty and diseases?
Due to total or partial marginalization the fragile Christian component suffered painfully from kidnapping and killing of a group of people for ransom since 2003, followed by facing the Islamic State (ISIS) displacement from Mosul and the towns of the Nineveh Plain. If it had not been for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s grateful reception of them, and the Church’s aid in reconstructing their homes after liberation, they would have been same as people of Gaza in Palestine, knowing that the central government did not provide anything for them.
Attacks on Christians are still continuing: on their skills, their jobs, the seizure of their properties (we have documented examples), cases of forced conversion of their religion by ISIS or others, the Islamization of minors, failure to preserve their rights, an attempt to deliberately erase their heritage, history, religious legacy, expressions of hatred in some religious discourses as well as in education books, for example: Some clerics forbade congratulating Christians on Christmas, while the Holy Qur’an considers Jesus Christ “ he will be honorable in this world and in the Hereafter” (Al Imran /45), Also in another verse: “made her and her son a Sign to the whole world” (Al-Anbiya’/91).
The government is not serious about doing justice to Christians. They keep saying pretty words without action. What happened to the case of murdering (Samer Salah Al-Din) a young Christian man in the Al-Amin neighborhood in Baghdad and also murdering (Dr. Hisham Miskouni, his wife Dr. Shatha Malek, and her mother Khairiya Daoud) a Christian family in March 2018?
What is the investigation result of Qaraqosh wedding tragedy (September 2023), which no one believes that it was an incident?
More than a million Christians have immigrated, most of them were with qualified scientific, economic and skilled background, but who cares?
The state of instability and lack of equity has renewed the flow of migration: 100 families from Qaraqosh immigrated in the past months, in addition to dozens of families from other cities, such as the town of Ankawa in the Kurdistan region, due to anxiety about the future and the failure to pay salaries for months?
Christian Parties are Divided
Most of them are looking for power and money, and whoever reaches a position devotes his effort to preserving his benefits, whether he is a minister, advisor, or representative, as does the “Babylon” movement, which stole the quota with money and intimidation, despite our demand to limit the vote to the Christian component in choosing its representatives? All this while the central government is silent despite the lies of Babylon’s electronic armies and their endless fabricated rumors, and if we criticize them, they file complaints in the courts on charges of slander, while they continue with their slander, and I did not file a complaint against them out of respect for my spiritual standing.
Likewise, Christians abroad were not successful in creating a lobby to stand alongside Christians at home, due to their national, tribal, and rural fanaticism. Moreover, some of them started writing destructive articles and publishing them on social media.
The Church is Divided
The Chaldean Church sensed the fragile situation of Iraqi Christian from the beginning (please see my installation installation speech on March 16, 2013) and tried to establish good relations with Shiite and Sunni authorities in addition to government officials. Hence, gained a reciprocal respect, especially after the visit of Pope Francis to Iraq on March 5-8, 2021. Also, worked hard to unify the position and discourse of the Churches by presenting sincere initiatives and calls for amalgamation, but no success unfortunately, due to the inability of some clergy to make such decision, and also the exploitation of Babylon movement played a role in trapping some bishops by money, power, and leadership temptation.
Babylon movement did not succeed in “controlling” the Chaldean Church, then tried to attack its credibility and integrity. When all their effort failed, Babylon movement pressured the President of the Republic to withdraw decree (147) from its supreme leader, then four months later from the bishops of other Churches. This kind of action is actually “moral assassination” that will be immortalized in modern history.
Heads of Churches
He does not think, analyze, or move. The job does not concern them, as if everything is “passing by”. They adhere to traditional authority and ritual practice. So their role is not consistent with the current culture and does not affect people’s lives.
Submissive, his vision was blinded by money, so he handed over his abilities to a “Babylon militia” that showered him with money and freeze his will. They are exposed and known, especially when the crowed of faithful have shouted, “Traitor, traitor”? There are also those who monitor developments and compromise, stating that “I am neither with this party nor with that?
Bright signs, strong personalities, and brave shepherds who deliver the message faithfully. They do not accept injustice and compromise on the truth. Their words are direct and strict. They defend citizenship, rights and a decent life. They have popular reputation, and are respected by the members of their Churches. They represent the “hope of the Church”.
I refer here with pride to most of the bishops of the Chaldean Church, and the venerable bishops: Nicodemus Sharaf Dauod for the Syriac Orthodox Church, Benedict Younan Hannu for the Syriac Catholic Church, Elia Isaac for the Assyrian Church of the East, Ghattas Hazim for the Greek Orthodox Church, and Farouk Hammo, head of the Evangelical Church. All together constitute 90%.
I hope that this team will form with the Chaldean Church a “crisis task force” to confront the challenges and preserve the remaining Christians.
Christians need real and honest allies from inside and outside to change the situation for the better and to publicly demand their rights in the media and international forums with firm faith, patience, and wisdom.
The Christian parties and Churches must unite, without unity, the country will be emptied of its indigenous component and the leader of its ancient civilization. We were waiting for the papal nuncio to play a positive role in bringing the Churches together. However, he did not try to understand the Eastern mentality and the culture of the country, therefore, remained wandering between his diplomatic and ecclesiastical duties.
Iraqis of all stripes aspire to true national reconciliation, rejection of conflicts, and building of a strong civil state, a state of law and institutions, a state run by competencies and not partisan quotas, a state that preserves national unity and coexistence among all components of the religious, sectarian and national society, a state that seeks to establish peace. Stability, security and decent living.
According to all religious and moral values, there is no shame in admitting our mistake, apologizing for it, and addressing it. I hope everyone will be able to examine his thoughts, deeds and conscience before God, since Iraqis and Christians deserve the best.
O Lord, grant our Government Officials wisdom of dialogue, common good in defending poor people, and suppressing all forms of conflict and war
Bless all those who seek to spread fraternity, love and peace