Joint Interreligious Statement

Joint Interreligious Statement of Faith-Based Organizations operating in Iraq on the occasion of the recent visit of the Apostolic of H.H. Pope Francis from 5-8 March 2021

The undersigned faith-based organizations working in Iraq (see the bottom of this article)  representing the call of our respective religions to human solidarity, welcome the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis.

Iraq is the cradle of human civilization and a beautiful country of rich cultural and religious diversity. For centuries, many ethnic and faith communities lived side by side in this land. However, in recent decades, Iraq has suffered from war, insecurity and instability and, most recently, from the rise of ISIS. Such a sequence of conflicts has deeply strained relations between communities and damaged the country’s social fabric.

Today, Iraq still faces daunting challenges. Among the 1.2 million Iraqis who continue to be internally displaced and approximately 4.8 million returnees, many are in dire need of help.

Meanwhile, a worsening economic crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is pushing many into poverty and depriving the government of resources needed to assist its own people.

In his recent encyclical letter “Fratelli Tutti”, Pope Francis writes that religions have a major role to play at the service of fraternity in our world. The Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity further explains: “Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. […] Believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need.”

As faith-based organizations, we fully embrace this message of fraternity and dialogue that Pope Francis is bringing to Iraq. We firmly believe it represents a necessary way forward to heal past wounds and build a future for the country’s diverse communities. We work in collaboration with the national and local Authorities to help communities reconcile, rebuild peace, and reclaim their collective rights to safety, services, and livelihoods.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ teaching on human fraternity, we commit to:

  • Continue to serve and empower people solely on the basis of their need, rejecting any form of discrimination.
  • Respect others’ cultural values and religious convictions as we continue to reject all sectarianism and proselytism in our actions and in our partnerships.
  • Strengthen inclusive initiatives and approaches that foster social cohesion.
  • Intensify collaboration among us in the service of those in need, as we live out our common call to solidarity. Finally, we urge the international community to remain engaged in supporting the Iraqi people to overcome their current challenges, in a true spirit of human fraternity and solidarity.

Undersigned faith-based organizations:

Adyan Foundation – Ankawa Humanitarian Committee – Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII – Assyrian Aid Society Iraq – Caritas Czech Republic –  Caritas Germany Caritas Iraq – Catholic Relief Services – Christian Aid – Christian Aid Program – Carpni – CNEWA / Pontifical Mission – Cordaid – Dan Church Aid – Dorcas Aid International – FOCSIV Fondazione AVSI  – Fraternité en Irak – Hungarian Interchurch Aid – Internationales Katholisches Missionswerk – Mission Aachen – Pontifical Mission Society – Islamic Relief Worldwide – Jesuit Refugee Service – Lutheran World Federation – Lutheran World Relief – Malteser International – Masarat – Norwegian Church Aid – Stand With Iraqi Christians – World Vision International – ZOA

11 March 2021