BASRA, NAJAF, and WASIT, Iraq — In response to the issuing of a Republican Decree by Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid removing recognition of Roman Catholic Cardinal and Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako as the head of the Chaldean Church and responsible for the Church’s endowment, various Iraqi political and religious figures have voiced their support for the Patriarch and expressed their concerns over the government’s actions against him and the Church.
The Chaldean Archdiocese of Basra appealed to the Iraqi President, urging him to revoke decision as it deeply offends the Chaldean Church and all Churches in Iraq. The Archdiocese emphasizes that rescinding this decision would serve as an encouragement for Christians to remain in the land of their ancestors, rather than emigrate, as has been the trend. Failure to do so may potentially open a new chapter of persecution against Christians, similar to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Furthermore, the office of the supreme religious authority of Shiites in Najaf, represented by Ali al-Sistani, reached out to Patriarch Sako. They expressed their regret for the treatment he has received recently, which contradicts his esteemed religious and national standing.
Muhammad Jamil al-Mayahi, the Governor of Wasit, has also called upon all influential figures to help contain the crisis. He recognizes that Patriarch Sako is a symbol of unity and fraternity and extends an invitation for him to temporarily reside in Wasit instead of traveling far from Baghdad, providing a conducive environment to seek a solution to this problem.
Patriarch Sako recently issued a letter announcing his withdrawal from the Patriarchal Residence in Baghdad to the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI).