Sunday, 08 February 2015 09:11

Interfaith Harmony Week - UN, Religious Leaders Call for Iraqi Unity to Counter ISIL Threat

Baghdad, 7 February 2015 - Religious leaders from all faiths echoed the United Nations message for dialogue and peace in promoting national reconciliation and fighting ISIL at Interfaith Harmony Week’s closing ceremony hosted by UNAMI in collaboration with the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs of the Kurdistan Region in Erbil.


Representatives of Shia, Sunni, Christians, Sabean Mandean, Yazidi and Bahai communities stood united in delivering a strong call for peace and tolerance at a time where terrorist and extremist groups are trying to divide and weaken the very fabric of Iraqi society.

“Religious leaders from all faiths and religions have an important responsibility in maintaining peace and unity in Iraq,” Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG), Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, stressed in his opening remarks. “Iraqi unity is crucial to counter the threat of ISIL and terrorism,” he added.

Representative of the Yazidi community, Sheikh Edow Babasheikh, underlined the solidarity showed by Iraqi Muslims and Christians in providing invaluable assistance to the Yazidis displaced following the dire events in Sinjar in August 2014. A strong message that Iraqis of all faiths are united against ISIS and are yearning for peace and stability.

“It is vital that the national reconciliation agenda be advanced based on the principles of inclusivity, with the participation of political, religious and community leaders from across Iraq’s diverse communities,” DSRSG Busztin concluded.

Interfaith Harmony Week was marked by a series of events across Iraq including an Interfaith Conference hosted by Ammar-Al Hakim, Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq on 31 January and an interfaith service at Abdulkadir Al-Geylani Mosque in Baghdad on 1 February; an interfaith dialogue at the Sabean Mandean Temple on 2 February where participants, including civil society representatives, called for constitutional reform and enactment of legislation to prohibit hate speech. Religious leaders from all faiths read texts from Holy books and doves were released following the ceremony as a symbol of unity. Similar events were held in Erbil on 5 and 7 February.


Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Sunday, 08 February 2015 09:13

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