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Cablegate: Iraqi Clergy Call for Religious, Ethnic

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS VATICAN 001880

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EUR/WE MENNUTI, NEA/NGA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IZ PGOV PHUM SOCI VT
SUBJECT: IRAQI CLERGY CALL FOR RELIGIOUS, ETHNIC
COEXISTENCE IN NEW IRAQ


1. (SBU) LOOKING TO LAY DOWN SOME MARKERS ON IRAQ'S RELIGIOUS
FUTURE, THE HOLY SEE FORWARDED TO POST UNDER DIPLOMATIC NOTE
A COPY OF A DECLARATION ISSUED BY THE IRAQI PATRIARCHS AND
BISHOPS (I.E. OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC, CHALDEAN, AND EASTERN
ORTHODOX CHURCHES) ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN IRAQ. THE
DECLARATION, SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED PUBLICLY BY THE VATICAN,
CITES THE UN CHARTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND APPEALS FOR THE
CONSTRUCTION OF A FREE AND TOLERANT SOCIETY IN THE IRAQI
TRADITION OF "RESPECT FOR INTER-RELIGIOUS AND MULTI-ETHNIC
COEXISTENCE." AN INFORMAL EMBASSY TRANSLATION FOLLOWS.

2.(U) BEGIN TEXT:

DECLARATION OF THE PATRIARCHS AND BISHOPS OF IRAQ

"AT THIS MOMENT WHEN IRAQ IS TURNING A PAGE AND IS BEGINNING
A NEW CHAPTER IN HER MILLENARY LIFE, WE, THE PATRIARCHS AND
BISHOPS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN IRAQ, DRIVEN ALSO BY
PRESSURE FROM OUR FAITHFUL, WISH TO EXPRESS OUR ASPIRATIONS
RELATIVE TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY, IN THE HOPE THAT THE
IRAQI PEOPLE, WHICH HAS HAD A LONG HISTORY MARKED BY DEFEATS
AND SUCCESSES, WILL BE ABLE, WITHOUT RELIGIOUS OR ETHNIC
DISTINCTION, TO LIVE IN FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND RESPECT FOR
INTER-RELIGIOUS AND MULTIETHNIC COEXISTENCE."

- WHEN HAMMURABI SCULPTED HIS CODE ON THE STONE OF THIS LAND,
LAW BECAME THE BASIS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF CIVILIZATION."

- WHEN ABRAHAM LOOKED AT THE HEAVENS ABOVE UR THEY OPENED UP
TO HIM AND, BY THIS REVELATION, ABRAHAM BECAME THE FATHER OF
A MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE."

- WHEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM MET, THEIR RESPECTIVE "HOLY
ONES" BEGAN THE TWO RELIGIONS IN RESPECTFUL AND RECIPROCAL
CO-EXISTENCE."

"IN ADDITION, BY VIRTUE OF OUR ORIGINAL RIGHT OF BELONGING TO
THE MOST ANCIENT PEOPLES OF THIS LAND, WE CLAIM FOR OURSELVES
AND FOR ALL THOSE WHO LIVE IN IT TODAY, WHETHER A MAJORITY OR
MINORITY, UNITED BY A LONG HISTORY OF COEXISTENCE, THE FULL
RIGHT OF LIVING IN A STATE OF LAW, IN PEACE, FREEDOM,
JUSTICE, IN EQUALITY, ACCORDING TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER.
CONSEQUENTLY -- WE, CHALDEANS, ASSYRIANS, SYRIANS, ARMENIANS,
GREEKS, AND LATINS -- FORMING TOGETHER ONE CHRISTIAN
COMMUNITY, ASK THAT THE NEW IRAQI CONSTITUTION:

- RECOGNIZE OUR RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL, AND POLITICAL RIGHTS;

- ENVISION A STATUTE LAW IN WHICH EACH PERSON WILL BE
CONSIDERED ACCORDING TO THEIR CAPABILITIES WITHOUT
DISCRIMINATION, SO THAT EACH MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE PART
ACTIVELY IN THE GOVERNMENT AND SERVICE OF THIS COUNTRY;

- CONSIDER THE CHRISTIANS AS IRAQI CITIZENS WITH FULL RIGHTS;

- GUARANTEE TO US THE RIGHT TO PROFESS OUR FAITH ACCORDING TO
OUR ANCIENT
TRADITIONS AND OUR RELIGIOUS LAW, THE RIGHT TO EDUCATE OUR
CHILDREN ACCORDING TO CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES, THE RIGHT TO
FREELY ASSEMBLE, TO BUILD OUR PLACES OF WORSHIP, AND OUR
CULTURAL AND SOCIAL CENTERS ACCORDING TO OUR NEEDS."

"THUS, WE MAKE THIS APPEAL TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE, RICH IN
ETHNICITIES AND RELIGIONS, TO THE POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS
AUTHORITIES, AS WELL AS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS THE GOOD OF THE
COUNTRY AT HEART, HENCE TO THE LEADERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY."

END INFORMAL EMBASSY TRANSLATION.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: THROUGHOUT THE IRAQ CRISIS, THE HOLY SEE
HAS BEEN PREOCCUPIED BY CONCERN FOR THE SAFETY OF CHRISTIAN
COMMUNITIES IN IRAQ AND THE IMPACT OF A WAR WAGED BY A
PREDOMINANTLY CHRISTIAN WEST ON MUSLIM IRAQ. BEYOND THE
IMPACT OF WAR, AN ADDITIONAL IMPLICIT CONCERN WAS THE RISK
THAT AN IRAQ UNFETTERED BY SADDAM'S REPRESSION COULD TAKE A
MORE FUNDAMENTALIST TURN THAT COULD LEAD TO NEW RESTRICTIONS
ON CATHOLIC AND OTHER CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES. AS NEW
POLITICAL ARRANGEMENTS ARE DEVELOPED, WE CAN EXPECT THE HOLY
SEE AND THE IRAQI BISHOPS TO REMAIN ACTIVE IN PROMOTING THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL GUARANTEES FOR
A MULTI-ETHNIC, RELIGIOUSLY TOLERANT GOVERNMENT.

NICHOLSON

NNNN

2003VATICA01880 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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