A recent episode of Alhurra-Iraq’s Your Question program encouraged Iraqi citizens to speak out about a quintessential topic facing Iraqi society, the preservation of religious harmony and coexistence among diverse religions and ethnicities to combat terrorism. The program hosted four religious clerics representing the main denominations in Iraq, the spokesman for the Sunni Fatwa and Advocacy Council, a Shia scholar, a Christian bishop, and a Yezidi Parliament member, to reach constructive solutions to the terrorism problem that afflicts their country.
The program stressed the significance of religious freedom, interfaith dialogue among people of different religious traditions, the widespread use of religion to achieve political goals and to support or even motivate conflict, the persecution of religious minorities, and the unspeakable acts of barbarism carried out by ISIL in the name of religion (terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis and Christians).
Some of the questions raised by the attendees were: Why do some Islamic factions force Christian women to wear the niqab (veil) in Baghdad? Can religious people play a bigger role in building bridges among people of different faiths? Who is responsible for implanting the culture of hatred that leads to terrorism?
The four guests shared a common idea that there is no compulsion in religion and people cannot force their personal religious views on other people. They also stressed that ISIL represents a warped religious ideology and its heinous atrocities do not represent Islam.