Patriarch Sako said he personally asked Pope Francis to visit Iraq during a recent meeting and also revealed that he was told by Iraq’s president this week that he too had urged the Pope to visit the war-torn nation. He said if such a visit were to take place “it would be a big support” for all Iraqis.
Asked about the threat posed by the IS or ISIS militants and whether they can be defeated, the Patriarch said this depends on “American actions” explaining that more help and troops on the ground are needed to “expel” the militants. When it comes to the future of Iraq’s beleaguered Christian Minority, the Patriarch said he believes some form of “international protection” is needed for them and added that a lot of the former “trust” between Christian and Muslim neighbours has been lost during the violence of the past year. He also said that another factor that he believes will help Iraq to overcome the militants, is a “new” and more “open” culture, a “moderate” form of Islam that respects the beliefs of other faiths.
Patriarch Sako finally spoke about the violence and insecurity that reigns in the Iraqi capital where he is based.
“We are worried about militias kidnapping people, threatening people and occupying other people’s houses, there’s another kind of ISIS in Baghdad.”