Ziyad Raoof at the European Congress for Defending Christians

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Ziyad Raoof, the KRG representative in Poland on Saturday, November 28 2015, took part in the European Congress for Defending Christians organized by European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) – a group in European Parliament. Coorganizers were: Jagiellonian University and Aid to the Church in Need Foundation. Among the guests there were: important prelates of Catholic Church, politicians, representatives of culture and science as well as clerics from Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq.

The opening speeches at the European Congress for Defending Christians were given by His Eminence Cardinal Stanis?aw Dziwisz, Metropolitan Bishop of Krakow and professor Ryszard Legutko, MEP, who presented the main thesis of the discussion to the invited guests: whether the policy of Western countries in the Middle East is ineffectual? Why humanitarian aid to the refugees in the Middle East is still insufficient? How effectively defend the rights of Christians in the Middle East?

Touching speech gave His Excellency Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon, Iraq. He appealed to notice in Europe, in the US and by UN the suffering of Iraqi Christians. He stressed that they do not want any special privileges, but they need the protection of fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
He ended his speech with dramatic appeal: “Our Church is a Church of martyrs, and our followers feel that there is none who defend them”.

Very interesting speech gave also prof. Krzysztof Szczerski – Minister in the Cabinet of the President of Poland. He stressed that the conflicts in the Middle East are not religious war. They are politics and economical wars, and the religion is a victim of this conflict. Professor Szczerski accused European politicians for not caring enough of the Christians in the Middle East, but also pointed that the aid they receive should encourage them to stay in the Middle East, and not emigrate to Europe. Prof. Szczerski highlighted that the president of Poland Andrzej Duda from the beginning of his service consistently stands up for the persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East, as he did in September at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Interesting forms of help for Christians were suggested by Dr. Krzysztof Strza?ka – Assistant Professor, Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University. He referred to the experience of many countries, where successfully operate special institutions to monitor religious freedom, as example: USA, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

After the official part of the Congress, Ziyad Raoof had an opportunity to talk to invited guest. With His Excellency Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon the KRG Representative in Poland talked about ongoing Christians situation in Iraq, including a controversial article no. 26 of the Iraqi Constitution. Professor Ryszard Legutko, MEP declared cooperation and willingness to meet soon.

Ziyad Raoof also had a conversation with prof. Krzysztof Szczerski – Minister in the Cabinet of the President of Poland. Mr. Raoof congratulated him very good speech and observations. Prof. Szczerski admitted during the private talk with the KRG Representative that in recent years Polish politics towards Middle East was not sufficiently active. He stated, that both the Polish president and the new government, want to change and rebuild the Polish influence in this part of the world.