Baghdad – Iraqi Christians, living mainly in the cities of the Nineveh Plains and other areas of northern Iraq, continue to leave the country. This is happening “at a rate of around 20 families a month,” said Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, in a reflection on the situation of Christians in Iraq. In a statement released by the Chaldean Patriarchate, the cardinal recalled that that more than half of Iraqi Christians have emigrated in the last five years and many others are “on the waiting list”.
In this context, the Chaldean Patriarch points to the many sociological, political and environmental factors that favor the slow and silent exodus of native Christians from their homelands, recalling political and social instability, insecurity, lack of equal opportunities, discrimination and penalizing measures suffered in the workplace, lack of legal provisions to protect the full equality of citizens – including Christians – before the law. The Primate of the Chaldean Church calls into question the lack of a law on the civil status of Christians, which he believes paves the way for sectarian discrimination and, last but not least, forces Christians to consider civil status issues (such as marriage law, inheritance rights, or the custody of minors) according to laws based on the Islamic legal tradition and which refer directly or indirectly to the Sharia.
In his text, the patriarch also deplores the use of religious words and symbols in propaganda and in political controversies. The Patriarch also gives examples of some cases of corruption and discrimination that have come to his attention recently. “If someone does not want us to remain in our country as citizens with equal dignity”, concludes the Iraqi Cardinal “then we should be told openly so that we can address the issue before it’s too late”.
By Agenzia Fides