Iraqi Christians, Muslims Unite in Seeking Peace

ROME, SEPT. 26, 2008 ( Interreligious peace-seeking in Iraq can take on many forms, ranging from meetings with high-ranking leaders of both religions to parish dinners that gather ordinary people regardless of creed.

On Monday, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and archbishop of Baghdad, met with Abdul Aziz Hakim, leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), the Shiite party with the largest number of representatives in Parliament.

Cardinal Delly acknowledged “the efforts of the Baghdad government to promote security and stability, as well as unity among all Iraqis.” For his part, the SIIC leader recalled “the historic ties that the country has with the Christian community.”

And at a different level, Monsignor Shleimun Warduni, vicar patriarch of the Chaldean Church, told Baghdadhope of a parish dinner that gathered 50 Muslims and Christians.

These meetings “are less rare than one thinks,” he explained. “Our relations, with the rest of the members of the country that desire dialogue are good.

“The unity of our people is certainly important to us. Iraqis share love of the one God and God is love in hearts, a love that should lead us to agreement.”

Despite the difficulties Christians of Iraq are going through, “understanding among all is of primary importance so that our beloved country can rediscover peace and its just place in the world,” Monsignor Warduni affirmed. “We do so as children of this country, Christians who have inhabited it since very ancient times and who even now, despite emigration, live in it and want to continue to do so.”