Shafaq News/ On Thursday, the US “Al-Monitor” website raised the issue of Iraq’s preparations to host the Interfaith Dialogue Conference next October, in cooperation with the Vatican, in the hope that religious diversity and coexistence in the country would be a source of strength for it.
The American report, translated by Shafak News Agency, reminded the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcing on August 5 that preparations for the third interfaith dialogue conference scheduled for October had been completed, in coordination with Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Mandaean and Yazidi endowments, after the ministry had announced on 26 In January, the Interfaith Conference will be held with the participation of the Pontifical Council in the State of the Vatican.
Iraq and Interfaith Dialogue
After the report indicated that Pope Francis, during his visit to Iraq last year, called for achieving peace in the region and promoting interfaith dialogue, the report stressed that Iraq’s interest in religious dialogue is not new.
He pointed out that Dhi Qar Governorate began on July 10 the construction of a center for interfaith dialogue that includes places of worship for Muslims, Christians, Jews and Sabians, in addition to a hall and a forum for interfaith dialogue in the historic city of Ur.
Interfaith dialogue has gained greater importance as a result of the conflict with the extremist organization ISIS, which invaded Iraq between 2014-2017 and left about 6 million people displaced from their places of origin.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry
The report quoted the Iraqi Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Safiya Talib Al-Suhail, as saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the patronage of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi and the directives of Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, will host an international forum for interfaith dialogue in Baghdad in cooperation and coordination with the Vatican and a number of countries and international institutions, in order to promote peace and international cooperation. and coexistence.
Al-Suhail explained that meetings held between the Awqaf offices in Iraq and the Papal Council in the Vatican State in its first session in 2013 and the second in 2017, dealt with the challenges facing people of religions, and a third meeting was scheduled for October 2022.
According to Al-Suhail, the conference will be under the slogan “Education for the New Generations: The Path to Peace and Comprehensive Development,” explaining that among the agenda items of the conference is “preparing teachers to perform the educational mission of peacemaking, while reviewing curricula to promote a culture of coexistence.”
The report quoted Al-Suhail as saying that “the Iraqi state is keen to fulfill its obligations related to respect for human rights and democracy, as defined by the Iraqi constitution, including the rights of cultural and religious minorities and other fundamental freedoms,” adding that Iraq is committed to the recommendations and results of the Pope’s visit to Iraq. .
Among the organizers of the Baghdad conference are the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Iraqi endowment bodies, as well as spiritual leaders of all faiths.
The report quoted the religious and cultural representative of the Shiite Endowment Office, Ihsan Jaafar Ahmed, as saying that the Shiite Endowment participated in two previous conferences, and the new conference will be the third.
Ahmed expressed his belief that the results of these meetings will be positive and tangible at the national, regional and global levels, in light of the great challenges facing our societies, especially for workers in the religious field.
He added that there is a keenness on the part of the Iraqi religious institutions to follow the path of the supreme authority of Sayyid Ali al-Sistani and to rely on his directives in dealing with people and societies.
He pointed out that “Shiite and Sunni endowments are working to build many common denominators that unite them and restore national cohesion that was destroyed by extremist ideology in Iraq, which is multi-religious, sects and ethnicities, while we are working to transform this diversity into a source of strength for Iraq.”
The decline of religious hatred
The report also quoted the leader of the State of Law coalition, Abbas Abboud, the former editor-in-chief of “Al-Sabah” newspaper, as saying that “there is no religious conflict in Iraq, but rather a conflict of nationalities and sects,” adding that “Iraq has enjoyed, since ancient times, a state with religious beliefs.” Diverse, as it is a homeland that includes the oldest churches and various places of worship.
Abboud considered that “minorities in Iraq are fine compared to other countries, with the exception of the period of ISIS invasion of Iraqi lands,” noting that “the region urgently needs interfaith dialogue and that Iraq can play a pivotal role in this field, considering that it is a diverse and tolerant country, and its people are on the He communicated with Turks, Persians and other nationalities, given the geographical location of Iraq, which gives it a leading role in promoting dialogue.
The US report concluded by noting that religious hatred has declined significantly in Iraq and the region in recent years, but there is a need to change the societal culture in order to secure the prevention of pluralism in Iraq and to deal with it legally and socially through the development of new legislation that emphasizes equality in citizenship and ensure respect for all religions, in addition to criminalizing all forms of discriminatory discourse that promotes hatred.
Translation: Shafak News Agency