JOINT STATEMENT OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF IRAQ’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES
28 May 2003
The World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) convened an international
conference from 27-28 May in the Jordanian capital, Amman, to discuss the
crisis in Iraq, in view of the devastating and catastrophic consequences and
repercussions resulting from the former regime, the war and the occupation.
WCRP hosted religious leaders representing all of the religious communities
in Iraq, together with international religious leaders, intellectuals,
diplomats and members of international humanitarian agencies.
The discussions focused on the humanitarian, political and economic
dimensions of the crisis in Iraq. The goals of the meeting included
examining (1) The current humanitarian crisis and the ways in which
multireligious cooperation can be strengthened as a mode of response. (2)
Iraqi religious traditions of mutual acceptance and co-existence, which can
form a basis for the building of Iraq’s future. (3) Governance in Iraq under
occupation and its impact on the current realities and future expectations.
(4) The role of the United Nations in a just international order, and its
relationship to current realities in Iraq. And, (5) The need for
cooperation among the religious groups in Iraq in building a better future
The Iraqi religious leaders were unanimous in expressing appreciation for
the good offices of HRH Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, the Moderator of WCRP.
The Iraqi religious leaders made the following recommendations, which were
also endorsed by the full conference.
First, that international institutions and agencies increase their provision
of humanitarian assistance through a greater cooperation with Iraqi
religious and other social institutions, including representatives of women
and youth groups.
Second, a demand that the Coalition Forces abide by their full
responsibilities as a de facto Occupying Power in compliance with all
relevant international treaties, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention
and the relevant Hague Conventions on the protection of civilians and the
provision of the necessary humanitarian requirements for occupied
Third, that a temporary Iraqi national government be formed as soon as
possible to administer the affairs and achieve the objectives of the Iraqi
people during the transition.
Fourth, that an Iraqi mechanism be formed to provide advice to the Special
Representative of the United Nations.
Fifth, that the permanent Iraqi government be built on the basis of direct,
free, democratic elections, a constitution and the rule of law that protects
equally all religious, ethnic and national groupings, while maintaining Iraq
‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Sixth, that WCRP, an international multireligious organization accredited to
the United Nations, be mandated to follow up the decisions and
recommendations of this conference in partnership with the Iraqi religious
Seventh, that WCRP be invited to work in partnership with the Iraqi
religious leaders regarding future conferences to be held in Baghdad and
their formation of an Iraqi multireligious Council.
Thanks be to God.
IRAQ’S RELIGIOUS GROUPS REJECT VIOLENCE AND CALL FOR COMMON ACTION TO ASSURE
A JUST SOCIETY
First Meeting of IRAQ’S Religious Groups Calls for Direct, Free and
Democratic Elections; a Constitution, and the Rule of Law.
Religious Groups Advocate Greater Cooperation with Iraqi Religious
Institutions in Humanitarian Assistance Efforts, and Continued Support from
Religious Communities Worldwide.
AMMAN, Jordan, (May 28) – Representatives of each of Iraq’s major religious
groups – including Shi'ite, Sunni, and Christian leaders – today rejected
violence and called for common action to build a just society in Iraq. The
meeting in Amman, Jordan, titled „Rejecting Violence and Promoting Peace
with Justice,” was convened by the World Conference on Religion and Peace,
and hosted by its Moderator, His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal
of Jordan. This was the first time representatives of all Iraqi religions
met since Saddam Hussein took power.
Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, said, „In these troubled times, Iraq’s religious
leaders give Iraqis a message of hope. Saving lives and upholding the
dignity of the Iraqi people is our sole aim in coming together. Pledging
common action to assure a just society in Iraq, these religious leaders
demonstrate that religion can be a powerful force for peace and for
affirming our common humanity.”
In a "Joint Statement of Representatives of Iraq's Religious Communities"
adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, representatives of Iraq’s
religious communities demanded that coalition forces abide by their full
responsibilities as a de facto occupying power under international law,
particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Hague
Conventions. The statement further called on coalition forces to provide
effective security to assure that all Iraqis are safe and protected in their
persons, households, and communities.
The consensus statement called on international institutions and agencies to
enhance the delivery of humanitarian assistance through greater cooperation
with Iraqi religious and other social institutions, including women's and
The statement also called for an immediate temporary Iraqi national
government, to be followed by a permanent Iraqi government built on the
basis of direct, free and democratic elections, a constitution, and the rule
of law that protects equally all religious, ethnic and national groupings.
Further, the religious leaders called for the creation of an Iraqi mechanism
to provide advice on the situation in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary
General’s Special Representative.
Finally, the leaders urged the international community to follow through on
these recommendations, and invited the World Conference on Religion and
Peace to work in partnership with Iraq’s religious communities to achieve
Dr. Vendley said, „The Iraqi people can be gratified that their religious
leaders have begun the critically important process of healing. Religious
networks are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of our time, during
times of conflict and during times of reconstruction. This week’s
conference demonstrates that collaboration of Irraq’s religious communities
is possible, is already a powerful tool to meet the needs of the Iraqi
people, and needs to be further strengthened.”
Attending the conference were representatives of the following Shi’ite
Participants close to Sayyed Ali al-Sestani also attended.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Qubiesy attended on behalf of Iraq’s Sunni community.
Christian leaders also participated, including the Chaldean Catholic
Archbishop of Baghdad Emanuael Deli.
In all, more than 20 representatives of Iraq’s religious communities
attended, joined in solidarity by more than 40 international religious
The World Conference on Religion and Peace is the largest world-wide
coalition of representatives of the major religions, committed to take
common action to promote peace.
This posting kindly submitted for publication by e-PRAXIS by the office of
HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Majlis El Hassan, Amman, Hashemite Kingdom
of Jordan. For further enquiries, please contact Sue Paton, Personal
Assistant, Majlis El Hassan Amman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. E-mail:
Edited and compiled by Rev. Gary Leonard
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by e-PRAXIS as a
means to provide accessible information and analysis thus promoting
meaningful and informative engagement by civil society and religious
communities on issues that advance and strengthen inter-religious
dialogue, co-operation & understanding, economic, environmental,
political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.
To be added to the distribution list please send a blank e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the words 'subscribe e-PRAXIS' in the
To be removed from the distribution list please send a blank e-mail to
email@example.com with the words 'unsubscribe e-PRAXIS' in the
For more information about reposted material, please contact directly
the source mentioned in the posting.
Please feel free to distribute this e-mail widely but kindly acknowledge
e-PRAXIS and the original source.
Rev. Gary S D Leonard
PRAXIS Trust, Durban, South Africa