Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, said in a December 30, 2022 interview on Al-Sharqiya News TV (Iraq) that Christians are treated as “second class citizens” in Iraq. He explained that certain issues in Iraq “violate the rights of the Christians to the core,” such as conversion of Christian minors to Islam. He also said that in many situations, Christians convert to Islam in order to enjoy social benefits, and not for religious reasons. For more about Cardinal Sako, see MEMRI TV Clips Nos. 8571 7562, 6099, and 5339.
Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako: "Some things violate the rights of the Christians to the core. The conversion of minors to Islam is one example. How can such a thing be possible today? A Christian, who cannot get a divorce within the church in order to marry another woman, converts to Islam so he can get married, not because he loves Islam. He takes all his children with him and registers them as Muslims. This cannot happen in any other country. In addition, the shari'a and some Muslim practices are imposed on everybody. This is unacceptable. If you want to fast during Ramadan, do it, but you do not have the right to force others to fast. What is this fasting worth if it is not real? There are other things.
"The old laws and the constitution...I've said before that there are Christians who were forced to convert to Islam by ISIS or Al-Qaeda. They converted under death threats. So they proclaimed the shahada but have no understanding of Islam. They did not teach them anything in order to persuade them to become Muslims. These people returned to their homes, but if they want to marry as Christians – they cannot. I really tried to help, but it was all in vain. Why? The constitution talks about freedom of conscience, but it is just on paper. This mentality and these practices – all this inherited tradition – must end. The world has become a global village. Just look at the Muslims abroad.
"When I visit abroad and meet with heads of state, I see that the Muslims there have the same rights as the Christians and atheists. Here, however, I am treated as a second-class citizen."