Former Iraqi minister: I, a Christian from Baghdad, protected Muslims in my home when Daesh arrived

The years of darkness and brutality of the self-proclaimed Islamic State have left deep wounds that will take time to heal, especially among the Yazidi and Christian communities. For months, Pascale Warda, a Christian and former Iraqi minister, has been listening to and compiling the testimonies of the torture suffered, especially by women.

PASCALE WARDA
Hammurabi Human Rights Organization
“Christian girls and women were with them and most were tortured. All the thing we have heard they did to Yazidis they also did to Christians, just the Christians were less [in number] than Yazidis.”

Hundreds of these women are still missing. Some have been rescued from the last remaining strongholds of ISIS. The terrorists have almost been defeated by the military. However, there is still fear they will return to attack again if the jihadist mentality is not fought at the root.

PASCALE WARDA
Hammurabi Human Rights Organization
“That spirit exists already. Muslims who do not see their neighbor like brothers, like citizens, like partners in the same land and with the same rights, could do this at any time. Goodwilled people won’t accept this.  Mosul was never without Christians. They say, ‘we’ve never seen Mosul without Christians, We are very unhappy that Christians are not here. There are communities who left together or who converted to another thing, while ISIS was there.”

In 2017, the city was liberated from the grip of extremists. However, the return of Christians is slow since Mosul is still practically in ruins.

Pascale calls for a political compromise in which the rights of all Iraqis are respected and recognized. In this way, the country can also be rebuilt from the moral debacle.

PASCALE WARDA
Hammurabi Human Rights Organization
“We have to respect this cohabitation, this coexistence, this brotherhood. This is because we feel we are brothers. During Daesh, I, a Christian from Baghdad, received Shiite and Sunni Muslims in my house to protect them and not let them be killed.”

The former Iraqi minister visited Rome to participate in a meeting on the future of religious minorities in the Middle East. It was organized by the Social Promotion Foundation.