Iraqi Church leaders convene in Ankawa, issue joint statement on Christian rights and regional tragedies

ANKAWA, Iraq — At the invitation of Chaldean Patriarch Mor Louis Raphael Sako, heads of several Churches in Iraq met in Ankawa district.

The meeting began with a minute of silence for souls of the martyrs of the Baghdede wedding hall fire tragedy and the bloody war in Gaza.

After discussions, the participating members issued a final statement stating that, “Christians are not a minority in their homeland and are not only a community. Rather, their roots are deep in Iraq, and they have a rooted role in history of Iraq and first civilizations. They form an essential part of Iraq’s cultural, social, and national heritage.”

The statement called for taking serious measures to preserve the rights of Christians, redress injustices committed against them, and return their usurped property. It also called on Christians to uphold their identity and perform their national role by engaging in the political process and state institutions with professionalism and sincerity.

Condemning the tragic events in Baghdede, the statement called for a thorough investigation by the Iraqi government to identify the causes and hold those accountable.

It also expressed condemnation for the devastating war in the Holy Land, describing it as a violation of international and humanitarian law, resulting in massacres against humanity.

In a call for peace, the statement urged all forces to cease military operations entirely and work towards achieving a two-state solution.

As a poignant gesture of respect for the martyrs of Baghdede and the Holy Land, the statement announced the cancellation of Christmas and New Year celebrations.