In conclusion, he called on governments to end religious discrimination and defend their country’s constitutions.
Religious leaders, he said, should also avoid “the manipulation of identities” and instead “encourage areas of integration through education, common citizenship, intermarriages, and other platforms of social cohesion anticipated and enshrined in our constitutions,” Kuha said.
The G20 Religious Forum also featured the testimony of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, Bashar Matti Warda. In his address, Warda painted a pessimistic picture of Iraq given the majority-Muslim country’s long history of violence.
“Throughout the Islamic world, the reality of structured violence, persecution, and marginalization against the minorities remains, century after century,” Warda said.
“To raise this matter in Western or global audiences is to invite a charge of ‘Islamophobia,’ mainly from social critics speaking theoretically from places far removed from any threat or actual experience. But for we Iraqi Christians this is not an abstract matter,” he said.
Warda continued: “There is a crisis of violence in Islam and for the sake of humanity, including the followers of Islam themselves, it must be addressed openly and honestly.”
There is hope, he said, but only through forgiveness and the renunciation of violence.
“Ours then is now a missionary role, to give daily witness to the teachings of Christ, to provide a living example to our neighbors of a path to a world of forgiveness, of humility, of love, of peace. Lest there be any confusion here I am not speaking of conversion. Rather, I am speaking of the fundamental truth of forgiveness and a renunciation of violence which we Christians of Iraq can share and do so from a position of historically unique moral clarity.
“We forgive those who murdered us, who tortured us, who raped us, who sought to destroy everything about us. We forgive them. In the name of Christ, we forgive them,” the archbishop of Erbil said.
Zelda Caldwell is News Editor at Catholic News Agency based in Washington, DC. She previously worked for Aleteia, as News and Culture editor.