IRAQ: Syriac Patriarch Louis Sako complains to PM al-Kadhimi over new bill appointing Islamic experts to Federal Court

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustapha al-Kadhimi on Sunday received Patriarch of the Syriac Chaldean Catholic Church Louis Sako at his residence in the Green Zone in Baghdad. The PM and His Holiness Louis Sako evaluated the recent papal visit to Iraq, addressed the new law which calls for the appointment of legal experts in Islam for the Iraqi Federal Court, and the situation of the Suraye in the Nineveh Plain.

His Holiness Louis Sako expressed his gratefulness to the Iraqi PM for the successful way Pope Francis was received and made welcome in Iraq. The Pope’s visit has strengthened Iraq’s stature internationally and will support Iraq come back to stability. His Holiness thanked the Prime Minister’s initiative for his National Dialogue between Iraq’s different communities and religious denominations to solve the general crisis in Iraq. PM al-Kadhimi returned the gratefulness by praising the great effort of the Syriac Chaldean Church in helping organize the Pope’s visit, and that as a result of this the visit has become a visit for Iraqis of all religions; the example of personalities such as the Pope and Shia Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani opens the way of hope to the future, reinforcing the values of coexistence and social security, said al-Kadhimi.

On the table for discussion was also the new law with regards to the appointment of legal experts in Islam and the distribution of seats for the Federal Court. The new law does not foresee in seats for judges from the non-Muslim components of Iraq like the Syriacs and Yazidis. Seats are only reserved for Muslim Arab and Kurds: 5 for the Shiites, 2 for the Sunnis, and 2 for Muslim Kurds. The law in effect excludes and marginalizes the Syriac and Yazidi components.

His Holiness Louis Sako complaint to Prime Minister al-Kadhimi about the new Federal Court Law and said that the “matter will consecrate sectarianism.” The plan to choose Islamic experts from among the jurists to the Federal judges will have a negative effect on social acceptance, diversity, and coexistence in Iraqi society; “Islam is not in need of legal experts; the judges of the Federal Court know the fundamentals and dogmas of Islam very well. No one will dare to change those fundamentals. The constitution names Islam the religion of the state, not its political system!”

Patriarch Louis Sako also addressed the case of the Hamdaniya University where more and more students are enrolled which are not from the Nineveh Plain. The Patriarch stressed the importance of respecting the original social fabric of Christian Syriac towns and homeland Nineveh Plain.

For the article in Suryoyo/Sureth see SyriacPress Syriac