Iraq's Christians have experienced deeply the meaning of life because they have experienced its joys after having tasted the bitterness of grief. They have lived in hope after experiencing the power of tragedy. They experienced laughter after having paid tears, and have experienced smiles after seeing their will broken by violence. These are really the Christians of Iraq with their good hearts, who love everyone, their country, and life, and these are those who forgive their enemies, and sow goodness wherever they are, spreading the spirit of peace. And despite their great suffering, they never forgot to live their Christian spirit in every place they went.
As an example of all this I can show you the Church of Our Lady of Salvation, which speaks on behalf of all Christians in Iraq, and which give examples written with the blood of its martyrs.
Have you heard how they died in this massacre, the two brave priests, and Wasim Sabieh and Thaier Saad Abdal? Did you know that they defended the faithful and tried to save their lives by offering their own from the first moment the criminals set foot in church? Did you know that a father protected his son by covering him completely with his own body while they were lying on the floor, and died in a hail of bullets so that the child would survive? Have you heard that the killers murdered a four-month-old baby girl and a young woman who, on the day of her death, had received the best news, namely that she was pregnant, and so went to church to thank God for this gift?
O people of the world, these are the Christians of Iraq. Hear and evangelize to everyone!
Firstly, historically speaking, [Christians] are part of the Middle East, and recently in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Syria, they contributed to the creation and liberation movement. Thus, they are a basic component of these countries, and so inflicting the slightest harm on them would mean causing tension and riots, and destabilizing the situation. Most dangerous of all is that this would trigger religious wars in a region already suffering from religious extremism, which undermines the citizenship concept, something that will be a real threat to all countries of the region....
Iraqi Christians are not part of the armed conflict; they have never formed militias and never resorted to any foreign states. Unfortunately, this is the reason for their weakness today. It is also the reason why observers of the situation in Iraq sympathize with them and demand their protection. It is so tragic that Iraqi Christians managed to live in peace during Saddam Hussein dictatorship but can't live in peace today in an Iraqi state which is supposed to be democratic. The Iraqi government stood against them in constitutional issues relating to minority laws and did not provide them with sufficient security protection despite the torture they are being exposed to. Threats against them have persisted ever since the toppling of the autocratic Saddam Hussein regime.
Promotion of the resolution against the Defamation of Religions in the framework of the United Nations should not limit itself to Islam, or ‘Islamophobia, in the Western world. It should include Christianity, or ‘Christianophobia,’in the Islamic world. We can also promote the adoption, again within the UN framework, of a resolution on religious freedom as an alternative to the resolution on the defamation of religions.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
John Allen, "Beyond a 'tea and cookies' dialogue with Islam"
It is in this difficult context that thirty young men and women, Muslims and Christians (Catholics and Orthodox), are meeting and working together to clear away this evil and create a space of love and friendship, working together to prepare to host the Meeting of Rimini and the values it represents.
The Meeting is growing and expanding every day, attracting much attention and curiosity, as well as the support of al-Azhar, Anba Musa (Secretary of the Coptic Pope), Anba Boutros Fahim (the Vice Catholic Patriarch), the University of Cairo, the Ministry of Culture and fifty Egyptian public figures and ambassadors from a number of Arab countries.
The meeting in Cairo really started with the smile of love on the faces of these young people, who believe in their ability to open up to others, because they believe in their diversity and love it. I remember saying at the presentation of the Arabic language version of The Religious Sense of Don Giussani, at the Rimini Meeting of 2006, that the sincere friendship between two people is enough to change the world. Was I dreaming?