ZALIN, Syria — The International Conference of Religions and Beliefs in Mesopotamia was held in the city of Zalin (Qamishli), North and East Syria, on the 10 and 11January.The conference was attended by Muslim, Christian, and Yezidi religious scholars from inside and outside Syria, representatives of the Syriac Union Party(SUP) and other political parties, and the Chair of the U.S. Committee for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Nadine Maenza. The messages sent to the conference praised its organization, emphasizing that it comes at a pivotal moment when peaceful coexistence is continually tested.
During the conference, a member of the Executive Committee of the Syriac Union Party, Nora Hanna, stated that, “We participated in the name of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, and we demand during this conference that security and peace be established for all peoples.”
“We, as a people, strive in this direction because we have been subjected to many massacres for a long time, from the events of the Nineveh Plain to the Khabur.”
During the conference, the attendees listened to messages from religious figures abroad including Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan who blessed the conference, saying “We congratulate the interfaith forum, which is a platform of love between all religions and we hope that it will be a human launch that God blesses.”
In a statement to Suroyo TV, Abdul Rahman Badrakhan, a member of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Religions and Beliefs in Mesopotamia, said:
“The program of the first day of the conference discussed some of the issues that stand in the way of peaceful coexistence. On the second day, the attendees discussed the role of religions in establishing peace and consolidating the principles of democracy and peaceful coexistence in society.”
During the statement, Badrakhan touched on the wide participation of guests from Western countries, as well as guests from within Syria. He concluded by saying, “We, the sons of this region, are brothers in love, despite the hands that abuse us and seek to sabotage this beautiful painting.”