NORTH IRAQ: Criticism and condemnations from Christian activists and parliamentarians over New Generation deputy leader’s insults

ANKAWA ܥܲܢܟܵܒ̣ܵܐ, Iraq – Controversy and condemnations all around and especially by Christian activists and parliamentarians over the words of deputy head of the New Generation Movement in Northern Iraq, Kawa Abdulqadir Hassan who said that mosques and churches cannot be equated by government agencies in the current measures to close their doors because Christian places of worship are in use by a minority only compared to mosques:

“It doesn’t make sense to compare mosques with churches, this comparison hurts the feelings of Muslims. Churches open only once a week” Kawa Abdulqadir said.

Kawa Abdulqadir forgot or pretended to have forgotten the feelings of Christians with his racial and religious distinctive remarks. Condemnations of this statement by Syriacs and Christian activists were not mild: an insult to human rights in general and an insult to the rights of non-Muslim religious components in particular; Kawa Abdulqadir forgot the firm legislation of parliament which considers the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian Christians as an authentic people in North Iraq and should have full rights and equal citizenship. Mona Youkhana Yako, Law Professor at Salah University, said in an open letter to Kawa Abdulqadir posted on her Facebook page:

“Since you are a member of parliament, this forces you to respect the public in all its colors, and to be aware of laws in force in your society, and with your irresponsible words you have exceeded a number of texts in the laws in force, and have practiced religious discrimination.”

The National Unity Bloc also condemned the statement made by Kawa as an affront to Christian feelings and the sanctity of the Christian religion, a blatant call for discrimination between religions and a departure from principles of religious coexistence prevailing in the Region. The National Unity Bloc considered his statement to be a major violation of Law on Components Protection issued by the parliament in North Iraq and another attempt to marginalize the Christians and reject their partnership and rights as an authentic component.

Joseph Sliwa, a former Iraqi parliamentarian who now heads the al-Warka Block, called on the New Generation Movement deputy head to apologize in a letter:

“If Mr. Shaswar Abdul Wahid does not ask the racist parliamentarian Kawa Abdulqadir to apologize for this great mistake, we will consider him under the protective umbrella of racism and destructive ideas.”