Iraq sponsors a new round of interfaith dialogue in cooperation with the Vatican  



Iraq sponsors a new round of interfaith dialogue in cooperation with the Vatican  

Baghdad/The Obelisk: On August 5, 2022, the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the completion of special preparations for the third meeting of the Interfaith Dialogue on the scheduled date at the end of next October, in coordination with the religious endowments in Iraq, namely the Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Mandaean and Yazidi endowments.

On January 26, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the upcoming Interfaith Dialogue Conference will be with the participation of the Pontifical Council in the Vatican State.

Iraq’s preoccupation with the issue of interfaith dialogue is not new. On July 10, 2022, the local government in Dhi Qar Governorate (south) began building a project for a center for interfaith dialogue, which includes places of worship for the Islamic, Christian, Jewish and Sabian religions, as well as a hall and forum for interfaith dialogue in The ancient city of Ur.

A report by Al-Monitor International, written by Adnan Abu Zeid, said that the importance of interfaith dialogue has increased further as a result of the conflict with the religious extremist organization ISIS, which swept Iraq between 2014-2017 and left about 6 million people displaced from their places of origin.

On August 8, 2022, the Undersecretary of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Safiya Talib Al-Suhail, met with the Ambassador of the Holy See to Iraq, Bishop Mita Leskovar.

Safia Talib Al-Suhail talks about “The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the auspices of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, and under the guidance of Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, will host an international forum for interfaith dialogue in the capital, Baghdad, in cooperation and coordination with the Vatican and a number of countries and international institutions, and the purpose of this is to promote international peace and coexistence.” Which was one of the outcomes of the Baghdad Conference last year.”

Sohail talks about a meeting between the offices of endowments in Iraq and the Papal Council in the Vatican State, which was held in its first session in 2013 and the second in 2017, where the challenges facing people of religions were discussed and a date for the conference was agreed upon in its third edition in the month of October / October 2022,” noting that “the conference will adopt the title (Proper Education for the New Generations: The Path to Peace and Comprehensive Development), as its slogan.”

Al-Suhail reveals some of the conference’s agenda, which is “preparing teachers to perform their educational mission in peacemaking, and reviewing school curricula to promote a culture of coexistence.”

Regarding the main parties organizing the conference, Al-Suhail said that “the Papal Religious Dialogue Council, which is one of the official formations of the Vatican for dialogue, is offset by the official Iraqi authorities of religious endowments, in addition to spiritual leaders representing all religions.”

Al-Suhail affirms that “the Iraqi state is keen on its obligations to respect the principles of human rights and democracy, which was confirmed by the Iraqi constitution, which includes the rights of cultural and religious minorities and other basic freedoms, and Iraq is committed to the recommendations and outcomes of the visit of His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff to Iraq.”

The religious and cultural representative of the Shiite Endowment, Dr. Ihsan Jaafar Ahmed, reveals “two previous conferences on dialogue in which the Shiite Endowment participated in the Vatican, while the new expected conference will be the third.”

He went on: “Usually, these conferences witness the holding of preparatory meetings to agree on the axis, and other axes branch out from it, whereby papers or visions of the participants are presented during the days of the conference, and then a final statement is drawn up expressing a common view that leads to rapprochement and expansion of participation based on the factor. humanitarian.”

Ahmed revealed that “the Shiite Endowment is participating in the preparatory phase for the third conference, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has adopted the aspect related to communication between the participants and facilitating the protocol aspects, and there are committees working on crystallizing the titles that will be discussed in the conference.”

Ahmed expects that “the results of these meetings will be positive and reflected at all levels nationally, regionally and globally, given that the challenges our societies face are major challenges, especially for workers in the religious field.”

Ahmed continues, “The Shiite Endowment adopts these projects in all their details, and calls for rapprochement and dialogue to reach the participants that serve our western and eastern societies. There is also a keenness on the part of the Iraqi religious institutions to follow the path of the supreme reference represented by His Eminence, the Supreme Leader, Ali al-Sistani, and enlightenment with his directives in dealing with people and with societies.

Ahmed believes that “both the Shiite and Sunni diwans are working to build the many commonalities and set out to restore national cohesion and rebuild what extremist ideology has destroyed for the unity of Iraq’s multi-religious, sects, sects and ethnicities, where we are working to make this diversity a source of strength for Iraq.” .

The leader of the State of Law coalition, and former editor-in-chief of Al-Sabah newspaper, Abs Abboud, says that “there is no conflict of religions in Iraq, but rather there is a conflict of nationalities and sects,” noting that “Iraq has been since ancient times a country with diverse religious beliefs as it has the oldest churches and places of worship.” different.”

Abboud considers that “minorities in Iraq live in a good position compared to other countries, with the exception of the exceptional case during the era of the Takfiri organization’s invasion of Iraqi lands.”

Abboud believes that “the region is in dire need of interfaith dialogue, and Iraq can play a pivotal role in this project due to its being a diverse and tolerant country, in addition to that its people are in contact with the Turks, Persians and other nationalities due to its geographical location, and this gives it a leading role in promoting dialogue.” .

The year 2013 witnessed the establishment of the “Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue,” which took upon itself the creation of practical mechanisms to activate interfaith understanding, by organizing seminars and effective participation in international conferences to shed light on the danger of extinction facing minorities.

Religious hatred has largely receded in Iraq and the region in recent years, but there is a need to change the societal culture to preserve pluralism in Iraq and address this legally and socially by enacting new legislation emphasizing equal citizenship and respect for all religions and criminalizing speeches of discrimination and hate.

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