(Wednesday; June 7, 2017)
During the Press Conference on passing of the HR390 of the 155th US Congress
Good morning everyone!
First, I would like to thank the Lord God for the amazing efforts of those who prepared the H.R. 390 of the 115th Congress and those who voted for it and for the Great American people who are paying for it.
Special gratitude is due, of course, to the bipartisan sponsors, Congressman Chris Smith, for his leadership and for visiting Christians in Iraq last December. My sincere thanks are also for my beloved friend and my own representative, when I lived in the Bay Area, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, for her leadership on this issue and for standing for her persecuted brethren back home. And, in a very special manner, I like finally to offer sincere gratitude to the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Mr. Carl Anderson, for his amazing efforts and those of his team for the aid and awareness that had recently boosted the status of the helpless Christians in the Middle East.
The current situation of the Christian community in Iraq & Syria remains very fragile. As a religious minority, Christians still suffer from remaining elements of radical Islamist groups and their policies, socially, economically and religiously. Furthermore, as Christians, our constitutional rights are yet to be fully integrated into the laws that rule their regional and national governments.
According to the position of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Iraq, it is very unfortunate that Iraq as a country still lacks certain constitutional amendments that guarantee liberty and equality for all Iraqis. It remains our dream that the Christians will not be 2nd class citizens in their native homeland Iraq but instead, they will, hopefully soon, have equal social, economic and political rights just as all other Iraqis have. This must include Arabs, Kurds, and the other minorities.
Why is this equality important? Because freedom is the strongest ties the human person can have with his country. Financial aid is absolutely critical now. Our people are in danger of disappearing. But after the short-term financial needs are met, constitutional freedom and liberties are needed in stabilizing the Christians in Iraq and Syria, for the long term.
And finally, why is it important that the Christians will remain in substantial numbers in Iraq? Because the Christians of Iraq are and have always been, the founders of educational and healthcare institutions throughout the history of ancient Mesopotamia and the modern Iraqi State. Through their Judeo-Christian values and principles, they often were the peacemakers and the catalysts of reforms. As a religious minority and as a peace-loving people, they and they alone can once more bring together all the major segments of the Iraqi people: Shia, Sunni, Yazidis and the Kurds, as a helping agent that delicately and serenely heals the present and offers a promising future.
+ Bawai Soro
The Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle (San Diego)