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Patriarch Sako to Muslim Leaders: Unite in the Struggle Against Religious Extremism

Religious extremism, which in recent years has assumed a "frightening" drift, represents a threat to the security of Iraq and the lives of its citizens; this is why religious leaders must have a "global vision" of the causes of fanaticism and violence "in the name of faith" and find "solutions" to "eliminate it", safeguarding "the future of new generations". This is the warning launched by the primate of the Iraqi Church Mar Louis Raphael Sako, in the context of a meeting on interreligious dialogue promoted yesterday by the patriarchate.

The event, which was held in the Chaldean parish of St. Joseph, in Karrada, and strongly wanted by the Mar Sako, was attended by prominent personalities of the Sunni and Shiite Islam of Iraq. In addition, representatives of the Sabians and Yazidis, the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Alberto Ortega Martín, the president of Iraqi Sunni Endowment Abdul latif Al-Hemyem and his Shiite counterpart Farhan Al-Saedy, along with personalities from the world of activism and civil society.

Starting from the theme "Together before God, for a world founded on truth and to eradicate fanaticism in the name of religion", Mar Sako wanted to thank those among religious leaders, Muslims and non-Muslims, who condemned acts of fanaticism and violence . In his speech, which he shared with AsiaNews, the Chaldean patriarch praised those who promoted a work of "study and analysis of sacred texts", according to a perspective of moderation, dialogue and peace.

The leaders of the different faiths and cultures that make up the Iraqi mosaic, he warns, have "responsibility" on a "religious, national and humanitarian" level and it is essential to avert "struggles between fellow citizens" while working to pursue the goal of "stability". Our mission, he added, focuses "on educating people about good will, on promoting the values ​​of peace and coexistence", preventing violence. By underlining the value of diversity, which God himself placed at the foundation of human nature together "to love, tolerance, mutual respect", the Chaldean patriarch concluded his intervention by listing a series of proposals to be implemented in the immediate future.

He advocates the constant monitoring of religious practice and of the discourses that are made in places of worship, to prevent incitement to hatred and violence. The Chaldean primate concludes by renewing the invitation to respect religions and fostering friendly relations between the authorities, building a relationship of mutual trust. To do this it is necessary "to promote shared actions in the humanitarian field at a national level", strengthening "religious and intellectual pluralism through personal and collective initiatives".

Finally, the various religious leaders agreed a joint strategic plan that favors: the birth of a Council formed by religious and lay people of Iraq; to vote in Parliament for a law that punishes extremist [religious] speeches and which foments hatred and violence; foster a positive vision of other faiths and religions; placing the concept of citizenship at the center of the reconstruction of the country [abandoning sectarian and confessional belonging], which provides for equal rights and obligations for all.

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