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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Iraqi patriarch calls for tolerance, forgiveness to fight terrorism

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, on the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, called for tolerance and forgiveness to fight extremism, hatred and terrorism.

Speaking at a prayer service on 7th July in the Karrada section of Baghdad for the victims of the 3rd July bombing that killed more than 290 people and wounded 200, the patriarch emphasised that “there is a spiritual, moral, and patriotic side for our prayer.

“In such a tragedy, we are joining millions of Muslims in praying for the affected families, that God may have mercy on the victims and bless the wounded with a speedy recovery,” Patriarch Sako said.

“We express our shock, sadness and solidarity with Iraqis and strongly condemn these cruel acts that affected innocent people, stole the happiness of preparing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and converted it to a national mourning,” he said.

The patriarch said terrorism had nothing to do with religion, “but may be linked to political games that allow killing of Muslims, Christians, Mandaeans and Yezidis as ‘infidels,'” the patriarch said.

He added that “everyone should understand that killing innocent people leads to hell rather than to heaven.

“Our prayers this evening will help us learn lessons from this tragedy and find effective and permanent solutions,” he said. “If the government was coherent and politicians worked as one team, ISIS wouldn’t be able to commit these crimes; tamper with the country’s security and stability, killing thousands of innocent people; displace millions; and destroy the Iraqi national fabric and peaceful co-existence.”

Picture: People gather at the site of a massive Daesh suicide bombing on 3rd July at a shopping area in Baghdad. Speaking at a prayer service on 7th July for the more than 290 people killed and 200 wounded, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako emphasised that “there is a spiritual, moral, and patriotic side for our prayer.” (CNS photo/Khalid-Mousily, Reuters).