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January 20, 2015 7:28 pm

Iraqi Christian Leader Calls on Muslims to Lead Fight Against Islamic Fundamentalism

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A map of the Nineveh Plains region, from where Iraqi Christians have been displaced. Credit: Courtesy of Ramy Jajo.

JNS.orgChaldean Catholic Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako called on Muslims to lead the fight to “dismantle the fundamentalist ideology” that has become a pervasive force in their religion.

“We call upon our fellow Muslims to take the initiative and lead a campaign of rejecting any sectarian discrimination,” Patriarch Sako said at a conference in Baghdad over the weekend that was organized by the Iraqi Center for Diversity Management, Asia Newsreported.

Islamic State jihadists conquered wide swaths of northern Iraq last summer, displacing more than 1.8 million Iraqis, including Christians, from their ancient homelands. According to estimates, more than 125,000 Christians from the city of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains region were displaced.

These Christian communities “are now marginalized,” Sako said. Iraqi Christians “have been treated in a harsh and brutal manner,” and today in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains there “is not a single Christian left,” he said.

Sako blamed these developments not only the terrorism of Islamic State, but also on the “takfiris” ideology, which considers Muslims opposed to the ideology of violence and oppression to be “unbelievers.”

In his speech, Sako outlined several proposals in order to build a more tolerant Iraq—including building an open and enlightened Islamic religion through reviewing texts, adopting the appropriate interpretation of texts, and ending the influence of those who persuade young people to use violence in the name of religion. Sako also called on Muslim religious and political authorities to play a lead role in overcoming violence.

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  • charlie johnson

    This man had better pray often because the deaf and blind will not hear nor see. But I think they have one thing common in all the groups there.(Except the atheist).It will not be mere mortals who will resolve these matters. It is beyond the power of science and their deadly weapons. Notice that the smartest want to fly off to Mars and establish a new order there.Let them fly away. It could improve our situation here.

  • Julian Clovelley

    It is a bit cheeky to tell another religion to dismantle its Fundamentalist ideology, unless you are prepared to dismantle your own ,and are active in that process.

    This is important because a great deal of Fundamentalism consists of ideological concepts and pseudo histories that cross religious borders. For example American Christian Fundamentalism inspires Creationism in Islamic groups.

    The Old Testament is the area of Hebrew writings that is the common heritage of both Judaism and Christianity, Christianity, after all having been founded as a Jewish sect and preached in its earliest forms within the confines of Jewish places of worship. Judaism may currently have difficulty in recognising the overwhelming extent of mythology in the Torah and in the Biblical histories. Christianity – being less dependent on them – should have no difficulty.

    All too often the religious worldview is separated into categories labelled as differing sects of differing religions. I don’t se this as correct. I only see one religious view, and frankly I don’t share it. I find the images of Divinity in all religions severely defective, they do not even provide a path that I can follow. So whilst I have some sympathy for the Childean Catholic Patriach’s dilemma, I do not agree with his approach to the problem of Fundamentalism

    Christianity needs a thorough house cleaning too, commencing with abandoning the Maria Cult and moving on to recognising obvious mythology such as the Christmas Story and Atonement theology. It might also help to recognise that the Trinity Concept is difficult to sell as genuine monotheism. Christianity could then move on, abandoning the “traditional” belief in Biblical events such as the Great Flood and the Exodus and the legends of Abraham and King David. There is a mountain of possible reform away from Fundamentalism here. No Jew need be involved. Sometimes it is better to arrive late at a party.

    Christian Fundamentalism is at the core of America’s own foreign policy failures because Christian Fundamentalism is the very foundation stone of American Conservatism in Americas two Conservative parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. So it is but one hearty cheer for the Childean patriarch – the necessary reforms away from Fundamentalism lie for him far closer to home.