On February 15, Archbishop Bashar Warda, of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, Iraq delivered a powerful speech at Georgetown University on the future of religious pluralism in Iraq. He spoke as a leader of a community that has, as he described, reached a point of extinction.
Here are his opening remarks:
Today I will speak to you on the future of religious pluralism in Iraq. As a Christian, I will of course speak mainly from the viewpoint which I know best. But the challenges which face the Christians are the same as those that face all religious minorities in Iraq, be they Yezidi, Kakai, or even Muslims themselves. And this challenge is clear: how does our land overcome the endless cycles of persecution and violence that repeat themselves with regular horror to us all. The harsh truth to this question is that without an end to this persecution and violence, there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Mideast for that matter. The brutal logic of this is that there does eventually reach an end point where there are no minorities left to kill, and no minorities left to persecute. Absent any changes in behavior and intention from those who rule over us, such is the bleak future of religious pluralism in Iraq today.
The full text of Archbishop Warda's speech is available here:
SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY ARCHBISHOP BASHAR WARDA
The event was hosted by the Religious Freedom Research Project of Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
The full video of the event, including the speech and his conversation with Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Research Project is available below.