Bishop Rabban al-Qas visited Poland

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Bishop of Zakho and Amedi Rabban al-Qas has paid a few-days visit in Poland. His stay has abounded in many interesting meetings and interviews. KRG Representation in Poland, as well as Polish priest Dariusz Smolenski have supported bishop in organization of this visit.
The first meeting was held with Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz- archbishop of Warsaw. Ziyad Raoof KRG Representative to Poland accompanied bishop al-Qas during the meeting. Cardinal Nycz was deeply interested in situation in Kurdistan particularly in Christian community. In response, Bishop Rabban presented in details several years fate of Christians in Iraq and in Kurdistan. He emphasized that consecutive waves of Christian refugees are flowing from Iraq to Kurdistan from the beginning of 21st century. Bishop praised the role of Kurdistan Regional Government and President Barzani who invited Christians to Kurdistan, built houses for them and guaranteed security. Rabban al-Qas noticed that Kurdistan Region is an oasis of calm and religious tolerance so it deserves to be independent and split up from Iraq. Cardinal Nycz asked about ways to help Christian who fled Kurdistan to avoid persecutions. Bishop Rabban replied that Catholic church in Europe has an important role to keep the spirit of Middle-East church up and remind that Europe remember about them. Bishop Rabban invited Cardinal Nycz and delegation of Polish priests to visit Kurdistan Region.
Bishop Rabban al-Qas was a honorary guest in KRG Poland Office during the new-year meeting with representatives of humanitarian organizations and institutions helping refugees in Kurdistan. Bishop had already a chance to meet many of them in Duhok. Rabban al-Qas thanked everyone involved in charity aid and stressed that Kurdistan is a place where people of different religions live in peace. He praised involvement of Kurdistan Regional Government and President Barzani in helping both Christian and refugees of the other faiths.
Bishop noted that it is necessary to continue aid to the refugees so as they decide to stay in Kurdistan preserving religious and ethnic mosaic. Rabban al-Qas definitely stated that the Kurdistan due to the prevailing there tolerance and safety deserves to be independent. The bishop also stressed that in areas liberated from the hands of ISIS as important as humanitarian aid is the restoration of trust and community and educational activity with the aim of freeing people from aggressive and intolerant ideology inculcated by ISIS,.

Bishop Rabban also took part in a few important events in Krakow. He was a honorary guest at “the day of Islam in Catholic Church” celebrated every year in Poland. Along with Polish Bishop Grzegorz Ry? he officiated ecumenical service and then along with Janina Ochojska- Head of Polish Humanitarian Organization- took part in discussion panel entitled “does the Muslim can be my brother?”. The bishop stressed in the discussion that the Kurdistan Region is an oasis of peaceful coexistence of different religions. Muslims and Christians truly live there as a brothers. He also stressed that in Kurdistan he engages in helping those in need, regardless of their religion.
Bishop Rabban visited the former concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and took part in a special dinner organized by Ziyad Raoof which was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, regional authorities of Malopolska Region and the city of Krakow. It was another opportunity for Bishop to familiarize visitors with the current situation in the Middle East and in Kurdistan.
During the last day of visit in Poland Rabban al-Qas along with Ziyad Raoof met with Marek J?draszewski- Archbishop of Krakow and later with prof. Wojciech Zyzak- president of Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow. During the meeting with Archbishop of Krakow once again there has been discussed situation of Christians in the Middle East and in Kurdistan. Bishop Rabban al-Qas invited Marek J?draszewski to visit Kurdistan so as to remind Christians that European church sympathizes with them. During the meeting with president of Pontifical University Bishop Rabban emphasized uniqueness of Kurdistan Region- the only one place in the Middle East where the university operates under the name “Catholic”. Rabban al-Qas emphasized that this university is ready to establish cooperation with partners in Europe. Prof Wojciech Zyzak declared that he is deeply interested in strengthening mutual contacts.
Bishop Rabban has given a few interviews in Poland, among other for Polish daily newspapers „Nasz Dziennik” and “Rzeczpospolita”, radio station “Radio Maryja” and TV Channels TV Republika and TV Trwan.