The Catholic University of America

Middle East Religious Freedom Project 

 
                                                                        Mar Mattai Monastery and Mosul Plain


The Iraqi Kurdistan Religious Freedom Project
examines th
e important efforts, considerable progress, and remaining challenges in establishing and supporting religious freedom for all the residents of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  

Christians around the world are concerned about the saf
ety, security and well-being of Christians who live in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  Unfortunately, most Christians in the West do not know much about the Christian communities in these regions.

 The Iraqi Kurdistan Religious Freedom Project seeks to study these issues, and to build bridges between and among the Christian communities of the West and their counterparts in the Middle East.  The project began with a June 2011 fact-finding trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, and has continued with an intensive survey of the region with mapping and data analysis, an international conference of top scholars and analysts, and a delegation of American religious leaders to the KRI - all designed to lay the groundwork for a longer-term, sustained effort to create linkages between these communities.

Activities include:

American Christian Leaders Delegation 2012

In November 2012, a most distinguished delegation of American Christian leaders, led by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, visited KRG government and religious leaders, including President Barzani  and Archbishop Warda, to better understand the situation first-hand. Cardinal McCarrick was joined by Legate of the Armenian Church, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian; James Kowalski, Dean of St John the Divine Episcopal Church (New York); and Mr. A. Larry Ross, advisor to leading American Evangelicals.
 
Review.
Itinerary and Agenda.


Preliminary Findings: A Report on Religious Liberty in Iraqi Kurdistan



(forthcoming)

Religious Liberty in Iraqi Kurdistan: An Introduction

In February 2012, Bishop Rabban Al-Qas of Duhok and Amadiiyah, and Minister Falah Mustafa  Bakir, head of the KRG's department of foreign relations, spoke as part of the law school's  Middle East Religious Dialogue Series.  

Program.

Review.

Conference on the Status of Christian Communities in Iraqi Kurdistan 2012

In December 2012, The Catholic University of America hosted a conference in Washington, D.C.,  The Status of the Christian Communities in Iraqi Kurdistan," with leading historians of   Christianity in the Middle East, constitutional scholars on land, oil, and religious freedom,  demographers of Christian populations on the move, American Christian leaders reflecting on  their recent visit, inside-the-Beltway policy analysts and advisors, and a message from His   Excellency Bashir Matti Warda, Chaldean Archbishop of Arbil, Iraq.

Conference panels on YouTube.
Program.
Review.

Mapping and Survey Data

In December 2011, Richard Michael and Wijnand Langeraar began a survey, mapping, extensive interviewing, and data analysis of the Christian communities across the KRI.  A brief description is here; full data and analysis is on mena-rf.org.


 

Is Kurdistan an Iraqi Success Story? 

Op-ed in the Washington Post, March 21, 2013, by Robert Destro and Larry Ross.


Today, the KRI’s Christians live peacefully among their Muslim neighbors. Though scarred by war, Kurds and their children are optimistic about their future. It is now time to claim that victory and to take on a different role – to help them build a better future for themselves and their children.