His Beatitude the Chaldean Patriarch, Louis Raphael Sako participated at the Fifth Annual Sulaimani Forum entitled “Beyond Daesh: Ending the Cycle of Conflicts Toward Durable Solutions”, organized by the American University of Iraq Sulaimani 8-9 March, 2017.
The following is the speech of H.B. Dr. Louis R. Sako at the Panel 4, addressing “Iraq’s Political Scene: Mapping the Settlement or Settlement of the Map?"
First of all, I am an Iraqi citizen and a religious man, not a politician. However, I can confirm that the Iraqi political scene is painful and general public are fed up with speeches and conferences, they are eagerly waiting to see actions.
There is an urgent need to develop a cohesive and unified vision regarding the rebuild of Iraq and the Iraqi society by analyzing the current situation and planning for a better future, which has been positively, expressed by His Excellency the Iraqi Prime Minister, Dr. Hayder Al-Ebady earlier this morning. He cannot do miracles without the unification of the Iraqi politicians and the cooperation of everyone for the sake of Iraq by giving the priority to public interest rather than the private interest.
– We are duty-bound to build a modern national, constitutional and democratic Iraq. A country of citizenship equality, in which; the term “minority” will never be used; nor certain ethnic groups can rule others based on their population size, religion or doctrine. In other words, we are in need to build a country based on; diversity and pluralism, freedom ; not on distinction, exclusion and elimination. A new Iraq that believes in democracy neutrality and equality that ensures full citizenship for everyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity connection.
– We also understand that the civil state does not isolate religion from public life, but rather respects its’ values that help in developing a sound and inclusive society, contrary to the "secular- laic state" that are incompatible with religion. We have seen how sectarian quota system and in the absence of civil state, has poured “hell-fire” on Iraq. Therefore, we should separate religion from politics as happened in the west; otherwise, we will have no future.
– Civil state will help us in building a solid and cohesive nation, single fabric under a single tent of citizenship. A country that; treats its’ people equally and fairly; protecting and defending everyone; and preventing all kinds of violations.
– We should encourage media in general and social media in particular, to cooperate for promoting; a culture of peace and unity among citizens; and developing a spirit of belonging to this land.
– We need to re-draft the constitution and laws in a way that the hearts and minds should be open to “a full citizenship for all” that guarantees; the freedom of expression and belief; and assure a complete respect for the dignity of all citizens, especially the dignity of women and young people considering their ambition and choices in life.
– Since terrorism is not against Christians only, the current situation requires a “renewal” of religious discourse, intellectually and practically. This kind of awareness will help in; confronting terrorism; renouncing violence; and rejecting distortion of concepts by some Islamic authorities and church leaders.
– There is also an urgent need to revise the curriculum at all levels (schools, institutes and universities), in order to focus on the consolidation of national unity concepts.