ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – President Barzani on Saturday congratulated Christians on the occasion of Easter Eve, stating Christians and Kurds in the Kurdistan Region will share the same future.
“In this holy event, I would like to inform my Christian brothers and sisters [in the Kurdistan Region] we all live in one country, and we have a joint destiny,” the statement declared.
“[Christians] are part of the Kurdistan Region, and will take part in determining the future and practice the legal rights of the people of Kurdistan,” he added.
President Barzani’s statement comes at a time when the Region is preparing to hold an independence referendum, a long-awaited aspiration of the Kurds to achieve statehood.
The President expressed pride for the deep historical and cultural roots of co-existence and freedom in Kurdistan, describing it “a shining example on the international level.”
Moreover, he stated it was the duty of all to protect and encourage such a culture in the Region.
Additionally, President Barzani highlighted the role of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in defeating “terrorist groups” who aim to destroy the unity and brotherhood among the people of Kurdistan.
He conveyed hope that Christians who fled or were displaced would be able to return to their homes once they were liberated from the Islamic State (IS).
Following the emergence of IS in June 2014 in northern Iraq, thousands of people, including Christians, moved to the Kurdistan Region, while others fled abroad.
According to Khalid Jamal Albert, the General Director of Christian Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, the Region is currently home to 320,000 Christians.
Editing by Gabrielle Renaud and Karzan Sulaivany