IRAQ, Cardinal Sako flees from Baghdad to Kurdistan


On Friday 21 July, Patriarch Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church arrived in Erbil after the new revocation of a an important decree making sure his legit standing and his immunity as a non secular chief. On the lookout for a secure haven, he was once warmly welcome via Kurdish government.

On 3 July, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid revoked a unique presidential decree issued in 2013 via former president Jalal Talabani that granted Cardinal Sako powers to manage Chaldean endowment affairs and formally known him as the top of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

In an legit observation, the Iraqi presidency defended the verdict to revoke the presidential decree, pronouncing it had no foundation within the charter since presidential decrees are issued simplest for individuals who paintings in governmental establishments, ministries, or governmental committees. 

“Surely, a non secular establishment isn’t thought to be a governmental one, the cleric in rate isn’t thought to be an worker of the state, to be able to factor a decree for his appointment,” learn the presidential observation. 

In step with Kurdish media outlet Rudaw, the Iraqi president’s determination got here after he met with Rayan al-Kaldani, the top of the Babylon Motion, a political celebration with a military referred to as the “Babylon Brigades”, claiming to be Christian however in truth affiliated to the pro-Iranian In style Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Islamic Modern Guard Corps (IRGC). Al-Kaldani’s intention is to sideline the Chaldean Patriarchate and think the position of consultant of Christians within the nation.

The verdict of the Iraqi president is along with different adverse traits which obviously result in the deliberate disappearance of the Christian neighborhood from its ancient lands in Iraq.

Of explicit fear are

  • the unlawful land acquisitions within the traditionally Christian Nineveh Simple;
  • the brand new electoral regulations affecting the distribution of seats reserved for Christian applicants;
  • the knowledge assortment via the Iraqi govt to create a “database” on Christian communities;
  • the media and social marketing campaign to spoil the recognition of Cardinal Sako;
  • the implementation of a legislation banning the import and sale of alcohol, together with the wine vital for the worship actions of the Christian communities.

Cardinal Sako and the Babylon Motion

Cardinal Sako, who arranged the ancient discuss with of Pope Francis to Iraq in 2021, was once appointed Cardinal of the Chaldean Catholic Church via the pope within the Vatican in 2018.

Sako and the Babylon Motion led via Kildani, who’s accused of being the motive force at the back of the revocation of the presidential decree, have lengthy been thinking about a confrontation.

At the one hand, the patriarch has steadily condemned the military chief for claiming to constitute the pursuits of Christians regardless of his celebration successful 4 of the 5 quota seats assigned for Christians within the 2021 Iraqi parliamentary election. His applicants had been broadly and overtly subsidized via Shiite political forces affiliated with Iran in that unnatural coalition.

However, Kildani has accused Sako of having thinking about politics and harmful the recognition of the Chaldean Church.

Kildani launched a observation accusing Sako of transferring to the Kurdistan Area “to flee dealing with the Iraqi judiciary in circumstances introduced in opposition to him.” 

Kildani additionally rejected Sako’s labeling his motion as a brigade. “We’re a political motion and now not brigades. We’re a political celebration collaborating within the political procedure and we’re part of the Working the State Coalition,” learn the observation. 

Cardinal Sako fleeing from Baghdad

Disadvantaged of any legit popularity, Cardinal Sako introduced his departure from Baghdad to Kurdistan in a press free up issued on 15 July. The rationale he gave the marketing campaign concentrated on him and the persecution of his neighborhood.

In early Would possibly, the top of the Chaldean Church discovered himself on the middle of a fierce media marketing campaign, following his important statements at the political illustration of Iraq’s Christian minority. Patriarch Sako had criticized the truth that majority political events occupied seats in parliament reserved via legislation for minority parts of the inhabitants, together with Christians.

Simply over a yr in the past, on the opening of the Chaldean bishops’ annual synod in Baghdad on 21 August, Cardinal Sako pointed to the desire for a metamorphosis in mentality and the “nationwide gadget” of his nation, the place “the Islamic heritage has made Christians second-class electorate and lets in usurpation in their assets”. A metamorphosis that Pope Francis had already referred to as for in March 2021, all the way through his shuttle to the rustic.

The hot occasions since Would possibly in Iraq display simply how dangerously threatened some 400,000 trustworthy of the Chaldean Catholic neighborhood are.

Some say Patriarch Sako will have to have adopted the instance of Ukrainian President Zelensky, who refused to escape in a taxi and selected to stick with his other people and to combat via its aspect in opposition to the Russian invaders however typically, there was once a nation-wide outcry within the Christian neighborhood and past in regards to the presidential decree.

A nation-wide and world outcry

The verdict sparked a national outcry from Christian neighborhood contributors and leaders, who condemned the Iraqi president’s maneuver and described it as an immediate assault on Cardinal Sako, a extremely revered determine in his neighborhood and international. 

Citizens of Ainkawa, a Christian-majority district positioned on the northern fringe of Erbil town, stuffed the road in entrance of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph a number of days in the past to protest in opposition to what they referred to as the “transparent and utter violation” in opposition to their neighborhood.

“This can be a political maneuver to clutch the rest of what Christians have left in Iraq and Baghdad and to expel them. Sadly, it is a blatant concentrated on of the Christians and a danger to their rights,” Diya Butrus Slewa, a number one human and minority rights activist from Ainkawa, informed Rudaw English. 

Some Muslim communities additionally voiced their reinforce to Patriarch Sako. The Committee of Muslim Students of Iraq, the rustic’s absolute best Sunni authority, expressed its harmony with him and denounced the perspective of the President of the Republic. Iraq’s absolute best Shiite authority, Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, has additionally declared his reinforce for the Chaldean patriarch and hopes he’ll go back to his Baghdad headquarters once imaginable.

L’Œuvre d’Orient, one of the vital Catholic Church’s main assist organizations helping Jap Christians, has voiced grave fear over the Iraqi govt’s determination to revoke state popularity of Cardinal Sako’s authority to manage the Chaldean Church and its property.

In a observation issued on 17 July, L’Œuvre d’Orient advised Iraq’s President Abdel Latif Rashid to opposite the verdict.

“9 years after the (ISIS) invasion, Iraq’s Christians are threatened via interior political video games,” lamented L’Œuvre d’Orient, which has been helping the Jap Church buildings within the Heart East, the Horn of Africa, Jap Europe and India for some 160 years.

The EU to stay silent?

On 19 March, the Cooperation Council between the Ecu Union and Iraq held its 3rd assembly, after a pause of 7 years because of the so-called then complicated state of affairs in Iraq and the have an effect on of COVID-19.

The assembly was once chaired via the Top Consultant for International Affairs and Safety Coverage, Josep Borrell. The Minister of International Affairs, Fuad Mohammed Hussein, led the Iraqi delegation.

Josep Borrell, Top Consultant for International Affairs and Safety Coverage, was once quoted as pronouncing in an legit observation: “The Iraqi govt can rely on our assist – for the advantage of the Iraqi other people, but in addition for the sake of regional steadiness. As a result of sure, we respect so much the optimistic position of Iraq on this area.

The Cooperation Council mentioned traits in Iraq and within the EU, regional affairs and safety, and subjects corresponding to migration, democracy and human rights, industry and effort. The phrases “human rights” disappeared from the overall EU-Iraq Joint Remark however had been changed via “non-discrimination”, “rule of legislation” and “excellent governance.”

This then again stays a forged flooring for the EU establishments to name upon the President of Iraq in regards to the expanding marginalization and fragilization of the Christian neighborhood, the newest construction being the deprivation of the nationwide and social standing of Cardinal Sako. That is the final nail within the coffin of the Christian neighborhood after the social media marketing campaign in opposition to the Chaldean Patriarch, unlawful acquisitions of Christian lands, a suspicious database of Christians and the dreaded upcoming ban on wine for the mass. An emergency plan very similar to the only regarding the survival of the Yezidi minority is wanted.

What is going to the EU do to keep away from the sluggish dying of any other ethno-religious minority?

Willy Fautré, former chargé de undertaking on the Cupboard of the Belgian Ministry of Training and on the Belgian Parliament. He’s the director of Human Rights With out Frontiers (HRWF), an NGO based totally in Brussels that he based in December 1988. His group defends human rights typically with a unique focal point on ethnic and spiritual minorities, freedom of expression, girls’s rights and LGBT other people. HRWF is unbiased from any political motion and any faith. Fautré has performed fact-finding missions on human rights in additional than 25 international locations, together with in perilous areas corresponding to in Iraq, in Sandinist Nicaragua or in Maoist held territories of Nepal. He’s a lecturer in universities within the box of human rights. He has printed many articles in college journals about members of the family between state and religions. He’s a member of the Press Membership in Brussels. He’s a human rights suggest on the UN, the Ecu Parliament and the OSCE.



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