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PM Al-Maliki: Christians are our brothers and partners in Iraq
 
Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has vowed to ensure that Iraqi Christians remain an integral part of Iraqi society during a visit to Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad, which was attacked by terrorists last week.

He described the assault on a congregation of Christian worshippers as a ‘heinous crime and a tragedy’. The prime minister offered his condolences to the families of the victims and pledged his continued support to Christian communities nationwide.

PM Al-Maliki accused
 
  Al-Qaeda of attempting to sow discord between Iraq’s Muslim and Christian communities in order to disrupt the political process, but added that they had failed, as they had done on a number of occasions.

‘Our goal is to achieve justice and equality for all,’ said the prime minister during a speech in front of senior church leaders and security officials. He described Christians as ‘sons of Iraq who belong to the depth of our proud civilization’.

The PM noted that during his last visit to the Vatican, he had reassured Pope Benedict XVI that Iraqi Christians were ‘brothers and partners’ in the new Iraq and that their needs would be catered for as native citizens of the country.

Speaking about the bonds of unity between Iraqis, the prime minister described how, in a recent visit to a hospital where many of the wounded were being treated, he found Muslim patients enquiring about the well-being of their Christian brothers and sisters. ‘This is why we are honoured and proud of this brotherhood and interdependence among Iraqis,’ he remarked.

Responding to unrepresentative calls by individuals outside of Iraq, he discouraged Iraqi Christians from leaving their homeland and called on those who had migrated to return. He urged Iraqi Christians to take on greater responsibilities within state institutions and paid tribute to the courage and dedication of Christian ministers in the government.

At this critical juncture in Iraq’s history, the Islamic Dawa Party firmly believes that the participation of all of Iraq’s religious and ethnic components in the democratic process is essential to long-term peace and prosperity. With negotiations to form the next government making progress, it is vital that Iraqi Christians fully engage in the rebuilding efforts.

9 November 2010  
 
   
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