Christians have a role to play in rebuilding Iraq, church leaders say

From “WCC Media”
World Council of Churches – News Release


Representatives of churches in Iraq confirmed their commitment
to work together with all Iraqi citizens for reconciliation and
rebuilding peace in the country.

“The solution to current conditions lies not in emptying Iraq of
its human resources,” said the participants at a 10-11 February
meeting in Dar Sayedat Al Jabal, Fatka, Lebanon. The meeting was
organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Some 12 representatives of Iraqi churches attended the
gathering, which addressed the challenges facing Christians in
Iraq today, particularly issues of safety and security as well as
forced migration. They affirmed the status of Iraqi Christians as
“authentic children of [the] land,” emphasizing the values of
equal citizenship and constructive co-existence.

“Christians have belonged to Iraq since the nation’s birth,” and
as “an essential part of Iraqi society […] deeply rooted in its
history and civilization,” they “have the right to live freely”
in the country, enjoying “equal rights and responsibilities along
with all other citizens,” they said.

Participants in the meeting, some of whom went through the
experience of being kidnapped in Iraq, called upon Iraqi
Christians “to stay in their homeland and participate actively in
its rebuilding and development”. Iraqi Christians have a role “in
building educational and social institutions that contribute to
national reconciliation, peace building and stability,” they

The gathering also called on Western churches “not to encourage
migration and resettlement programs for refugees outside Iraq,”
but rather to “focus their efforts on bringing back security and
stability inside Iraq for all Iraqis,” with the aim of enabling
Iraqis to “work together, healing wounds and building a better

Participants at the meeting emphasized the importance of
continued dialogue “among Christians and their Muslim brothers
and sisters.” They pledged to establish an “ecumenical forum” in
order to allow “all Iraqi church leaders […] to speak with a
common voice to religious and political authorities inside and
outside Iraq”.

Full text of the statement of Iraqi church representatives

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The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith,
witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical
fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings
together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches
representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110
countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic
Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from
the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.