Top Kurdistan officials share Easter messages of peace, tolerance
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Saturday, the eve of Easter for the majority of the world's Christians, top Kurdistan Region officials congratulated various denominations domestically and abroad, even as the faithful around the world remained homebound or held otherwise muted celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"At the time of the glorious Easter feast, I extend my warmest congratulations and blessings to the Christian sisters and brothers in Kurdistan, Iraq and the world, and wish them joy and happiness,” said Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
"On this occasion, we stress the importance of the culture of tolerance and peace for the people of Kurdistan, and for the continuity of Kurdistan as a state of brotherhood and coexistence between all national and religious communities in the region," he said, adding that he hoped the occasion will help bring “the end of the global pandemic, disease and tragedies, and bring peace and security to the region and the world at large."
The Kurdistan Region has over 120 churches and is often lauded for being a beacon of general religious tolerance, coexistence, and safety in an otherwise hostile Middle East. Less than two weeks ago on April 1, both Assyrian and Chaldean Christians marked the Assyrian New Year known as Akitu.
“On the day of the resurrection of Jesus, peace be upon him, I congratulate all our dear Christian sisters and brothers in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the world,” said regional president Nechirvan Barzani.
"The feast of resurrection is upon us this year, while the whole world, including the Kurdistan Region, is going through difficult circumstances as a result of the outbreak of the corona pandemic, and these conditions require us all to adhere to the health directives and guidelines and stay in our homes, and we hope that upcoming holidays and events will come to us under better conditions," he added, promising that the Kurdistan Region, "as always, will remain the incubator of coexistence, tolerance and acceptance of others."
For his part, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masrour Barzani also sent a similar congratulatory message.
"I extend my sincere congratulations to the Christian brothers and sisters... asking God Almighty to accept your prayers and invitations and to bless your days."
Prime Minister Barzani also stressed that “Kurdistan has been and still is, an oasis of religious coexistence, and the KRG renews its firm commitment to defend and promote a culture of religious coexistence.”
He concluded his statement by urging all citizens to stay in their homes to help keep themselves and others around them as safe as possible from the highly-contagious disease that has swept across the globe in recent months.
In early March, KRG authorities decided to cancel religious gatherings of all faiths in territory under its jurisdiction until further notice as a necessary precautionary measure.
Editing by John J. Catherine