Chaldean Patriarch: Christians and Muslims Must Fight Against Fundamentalism

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako Proposes Ways to Dismantle Extremist Ideology

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The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Raphael I Sako, called on Muslims and Christians to join together against extremism and fundamentalism.

The Patriarch said this in an address at a conference organized by the Iraqi Center for Diversity Management (ICDM) in Baghdad. He appealed to the more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world to “dismantle the fundamentalist ideology” in all its forms.

According to Asia News, Patriarch Sako recalled the tragic exodus of Christians in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains. An estimated 500,000 people fled last summer after they were overtaken by the Islamic State, forcing Christians to choose between converting to their extreme form of Islam or death.

The fact is that the biggest threat is not only terrorism of ISIS or any other terrorist organization,” he said. “It is the “takfiri” (Expiatory) way of thinking diffused by its preachers and promoters. It is as well exploited in some of the competing forces of power under the cover of religion.”

The Chaldean Patriarch proposed to the organization a joint Islamic project in order to dismantle extremist ideology. Implementation of the project, he said, would be implemented in three ways, the first would be to build an “open and enlightened Islamic opinion” as well as developing an ethic of its teaching methods.

Secondly, he called for adopting an appropriate interpretation of religious texts, one that would close the door to extremist interpretations. “In all this,” Patriarch Sako said, “adopting a centrist-moderate speech that is directed towards humanitarian, national and spiritual solidarity among all human beings as children of the same homeland and humankind.”

Finally, he called for a promotion of a civilized culture that accepts as brothers, co-citizens and full partners. However, he noted, the process would take time and healing of old wounds.

Concluding his address, Patriarch Sako stressed the importance of denouncing all forms of violence that destroy human life and violate human dignity from both religious authorities as well as political leaders. He also called on the media to provide information that respects religions and not insult them.

“Let us all promote an open culture that dispels prejudices and strengthens confidence and brilliancy,” he concluded.

“At this point, there is no other future for us than living together in peace, harmony and cooperation.”

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