H.B. The Chaldean Patriarch, Louis Raphael Sako was invited to the conference of Protecting religious freedom with other religious leaders, intellectuals and activists from different civic movement. In his speech he addressed the "Inciting Discourse as a Form of Terrorism" stating the following:
Extremism turns out to be a scary and disturbing terroristic phenomenon in the region and around the world. It is also a tragedy, shocking us as Eastern Christians together with other religious minorities, in a way that we have nothing to face it but prayer, immigration and grief!
There is an incredible need to emphasize a widespread awareness about using religion by extremists and fundamentalists as a weapon to create conflicts and war, which means undermining peace, and creating distance and hatred between people of the same country. In contrary, religion should be used as an active and influential factor to spread peace and consolidation of co-existence in the region and the world.
Therefore, we hope that the following recommendations would be taken into account:
- Official identification of the sedition discourse or inciting and aggressive speeches, as a terrorist act, regardless of the source. It is very unfortunate and dangerous, when such horrible extremism that promotes incitement against other religions, is still merely looked at, as a kind of freedom expression. While, it should be considered both officially and legally, as a crime and a form of terrorism, that requires punishment and to ban any manipulation of religious concepts.
- Urgent need for both Muslims and Christians to redress and correct the situation immediately
The current Iraqi and regional situation requires an intensified Islamic – Christian action to rectify the danger of “after ISIS” inciting speech by; enlightening people; using logic and reason to avoid wrong and exotic interpretations and practices; building fairness; promoting civil peace through an acceptance of others and protecting religious and national discourses; spreading the teachings of Christianity and Islam, about love, compassion, goodness and peace; taking significant steps to combat terrorism; and convicting as well as holding legally accountable, all kind of incitement to hatred, murder, and seizing of Christians’ property.
A real opportunity is available today to save our people from extremism, terrorism and the war consequences, through:
– Revising curricula and cleansing it from the “toxins” of hatred and excluding or eliminating other religions.
– Adopting a culture of tolerance, convergence, modern, mature and openness.
In this regard, it is a great pleasure to list a number of positive signs related to this point:
- A statement of the Najaf Authority, encouraging Muslims to share Christmas celebration with Christians.
- A follow-up of the Sunni Endowment on sedition discourses that call for hatred and cursing Christians in Muslim prayers.
- The measures of the ministry of religious affairs in Kurdistan to ban and punish any speech against other religions…·
Last but not least, the civilized and ethical stance of the United Arab Emirates in passing a law to criminalize and to hold accountable all religious discourses that intimidate coexistence as well as fuel and sow sedition among people.
In conclusion, and due to the unique composition of Iraq's mosaic of multiple civilizations, cultures, languages and religions, we must implement “actual community reconciliation”, similar to what happen in Algeria and South Africa, away from the sectarian line-up that brings out explosions and destructions.
The time has come to invest in defeating the terroristic ISIS, in order to develop a civil and democratic state relying on full citizenship for everyone and dealing with them as human regardless of their religion or ethnicity. This is the case in all the developed countries around the world and even some Islamic countries by separating religion from politics. Where civil state is able to rotate the corners and build a system that guarantees everyone's rights, helping them to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation as well as restoring some confidence and hope for a better future. Finally, the civil state values religion, creates the rule of law and citizen rights, and apply the law to everyone, unlike the so-called "secular state", which is against religion.