The future of Iraqi Christians could not be dictated by a militia group, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the country and the world said on Tuesday at the MEPS23 Forum in Duhok.
Remarks by Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako, who had fled Baghdad for Erbil in recent months, came during a keynote speech he delivered on Tuesday morning on the second day of Middle East Peace and Security (MEPS).
Calling for peace and living in harmony, the clergyman said the future of Christians in Iraq could not be determined by anyone.
"A militia group could not dictate the future of Christians," he said.
The patriarch has reportedly been threatened by an Iranian-backed militia group that claims to be composed of Christian fighters in the Nineveh Plains. Similarly, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid has withdrawn a presidential decree that had recognized the religious leader as the head and custodian of the Chaldean church.
The faith leader also laid out a project that would enhance religious coexistence in Iraq, which includes amending the Iraqi constitution that would stipulate greater protection and representation to the Christian community as well as other minority groups in Iraq.
Hundreds of politicians, political pundits, and researchers are attending the second day of MEPS23 in Duhok.