Christians boycot the “conference on peaceful coexistence”; Chaldean Patriarch: we are tired of useless words

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Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – Christian representatives invited to participate in the “Conference on the protection of peaceful coexistence”, held on Sunday, February 7 at the Iraqi Parliament, decided to boycott the event, to mark their distance from occasions when the calls to coexistence and harmony between different ethnic and religious identities are transformed into mere rhetorical formulas. In addition to the Christian communities, also other religious minorities, such as the Yazidis and Mandaeans boycotted the conference. “What need is there in participating in meetings like this and repeating the formulas that give the title to the conference if then one does not see initiatives and changes in concrete terms?” said Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I to the local media. The Conference was organized under the patronage of the Presidency of the Parliament and of the Sunni Council for religious facilities (Waqf), and saw the participation of politicians, diplomats and ministers of the Iraqi government.
In recent days, the Chaldean Patriarch had launched an appeal to government authorities and political and religious leaders to denounce the continuing legal discrimination and sectarian bullying suffered by Christians. “We” wrote the Patriarch in the appeal, sent to Agenzia Fides, “met with government officials, and paid a visit to some of the Islamic religious authorities to talk about what we have in common, with regards to our faiths and the life we share in this land. During these meetings, we assured our loyalty to Iraq, which is our country, and we do not seek revenge, we want to live in peace with all Iraqis. Unfortunately, none of their promises has become reality”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/02/2016)