Chaldean Patriarch opens discussion on the draft Constitution for the Iraqi Kurdistan Region

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Erbil (Agenzia Fides) – In view of the parliamentary debate on the adoption of the Constitution of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I intends to open a free and serene debate on the formulas which in the constitutional text will indicate members of the various Christian communities as full citizens, with the same rights and duties enjoyed by other members of the local people. The Chaldean patriarch – said in a note sent to Agenzia Fides – is planning to discuss this topic with other primates of the Eastern Churches, such as the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Syrian Catholic Church .
The draft constitutional bill, which will be submitted shortly to the regional parliament for approval, states that the citizens of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region is composed of “Kurds, Turkmens, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Armenians and others”. The Patriarch in his message, published on the website of the Chaldean Patriarchate, has raised the question whether this formula ends up identifying the local Christian communities exclusively with ethnically defined groups.
Already in the past, the Chaldean Patriarch had invoked the danger of reducing the belonging of the various Christian churches as a mere “religious” corollary of ethnic and national identity. According to the Primate of the Chaldean Church, in the current phase of history, Christians are likely to be infected with the sectarianism that poisons the coexistence between the peoples of the Middle East: “Now, unfortunately”, said Patriarch Louis Raphael I in an interview with Agency Fides “you hear someone who says: I am more Armenian than Christian, more Assyrian than Christian” (see Fides 06/02/2013). (GV) (Agenzia Fides 04/05/2015)