CPTnet 16 June 2016 IRAQI KURDISTAN: May 2016 Newsletter–Neighbors from different worlds
We are neighbors from different worlds -CPT May Delegation-
We are pleased to welcome nine delegates from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Mennonite Church from the U.S.A.
It has always been a pleasure for CPTers to unite people and celebrate the diversities. We started our May delegation by visiting a local Muslim leader and activist Mullah Nader and talked about bringing peace and supporting diverse minorities in Kurdistan society.
CPT has met Mullah Nader in several peaceful civil society demonstrations. He told the group that his role is supporting people with the Holy Quran’s teaching about justice and respect. Because he speaks about the injustice, the suffering of the people under corrupt powers, and protests together with other mullahs against wars and violence, he began receiving threats.
He is a diligent mullah at a mosque near CPT’s office. Under the shadow of threats, he continues to walk in the dark alone to the mosque to call the neighbourhood for the early morning prayers. “God is my protection” he said.
After the visit, we moved on to a six day field trip to explore more social justice stories. Our stories covered the oil development, cross-border air attacks on civilians, and internal conflicts in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
Hospitality, human rights, and corruption driven by the oil industry
by Lois Aroian
A common thread runs through our meetings in Iraqi Kurdistan: hospitality. As we focus on our peacemaking mission, we are constantly reminded that we are one human family. We have received such warm welcomes everywhere. The people we’ve met have shared their homes, their hearts, and their tables. We’ve drunk their tea, eaten their magnificent repasts, and most importantly, have listened to their stories.
Some of these stories are painful. We can understand that it’s not easy for people victimized by violence to share. And yet, they do. Syrian women in refugee camps join together for fellowship and friendship, despite differences of religion, ethnicity, and language. Children meet at a drop-in center and learn that whether they are Sunni, Shi’a, Christian, Yazidi, Arab, Kurd or Turcoman, they are one human family.
On 26 May, we met with a member of the Soran Omer, a member of the Kurdistan Regional Government. He’s in the opposition Islamic Party and chairs the Human Rights Committee.
Human rights are a sensitive issue here in Kurdistan. When we passed through a checkpoint en route, we told the soldier there we were studying human rights in Kurdistan. “Human rights,” he exclaimed. “There are no human rights in Kurdistan!”