IRAQ: Baghdede mayor Behnam Matti and Syriac bishops meet with justice minister al-Shawani

BAGHDAD – A combined delegation of Syriac bishops and officials from the Nineveh Plains region met with Iraqi Justice Minister Farouq Amin al-Shawani on Thursday in his office in Baghdad to discuss issues of security and social justice. The visiting delegation included the Syriac Hamdaniya District Mayor Issam Behnam Matti, Hamdaniya District Security official Anwar Isha, and Syriac Catholic archbishops Youhanna Boutros Mushe (Mosul) and Ephrem Youssef Abba (Baghdad).

Mosul, Sinjar, home to Yazidis, and the Nineveh Plains, home to Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians, were overran by the Islamic State in mid-2014. The radical Islamist group committed genocide and kidnapped, killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians from different religious and indigenous minorities.

Justice Minister al-Shawani expressed his solidarity with Syriacs, Yazidis, and all components that were subjected to injustice, displacement, and killings at the hands of terrorist organization Islamic State, “Christians constitute an important part of Iraq, with its religious and national diversity, and they are an important part of the Iraqi social fabric.”

The minister stressed the need for continued concerted efforts to consolidate security and peaceful coexistence among all components of the Iraqi people. For its part, the visiting delegation commended the efforts so far made by the Ministry of Justice, and the Minister’s solidarity with the Syriac people in Iraq.