As a country of diversity, Iraq is home to many belief systems, leading to a rich social fabric of multiple religions. To celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, UNDP Iraq partnered with the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Kurdistan-Iraq  to hold a half-day event for over 50 diverse religious leaders, including representatives from Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zardashti, Bahai, Sabian Mandaean, Yazidi and Kakai communities.  

Eight representatives from various religious groups discussed ways to build stronger and more cohesive communities in Iraq, shedding light on enhancing the role of religious leaders in community coexistence and social cohesion, with a focus on restoring trust among different communities.

 

“I am happy to be here today as I think these types of events spread positive sentiments among people from different religions, especially during World Interfaith Harmony Week. This kind of event builds peace and as a member of the Ministry of Endowments I am ready to support this event every year.'' -Ameer Othman, Director of Coexistence of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.  

 

 

 

“My passion for spreading love in a community environment inspired me to be a religious leader.I have worked to overcome challenges by facilitating discussions through social connections and encouraging women to work in different fields that demonstrate their positive energy.”

– Fayza, Mandaean Sabean. 

 

 

 

''I am very happy to be here for this event, and I recommend conducting this kind of session for different age levels starting from kindergarten to university, especially for teenagers, as it is very important to explain the various religions and respect between them.'' 

– Sherko, Jewish community.   

 

The half-day event was part of the project launched by UNDP Iraq in December 2020 to improve the capacity of religious leaders from Erbil, Baghdad, Anbar, and Ninewa with a focus on enhancing dialogue, creative expression, peacebuilding, and coexistence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP Iraq’s Social Cohesion Programme is committed to improving community well-being and building cohesion by promoting peace and tolerance among various religious groups and ethnicities in Iraq, thanks to support from the Government of Denmark. 

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