Save Aramaean Christianity in Iraq! Letter to Pres. Talabani, Premier Maliki

October 11, 2007

Dutch Version


By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Orientalist




In earlier articles, reports and interviews, we focalized on the Aramaean Identity of the totality of the non-Kurdish and non-Turkmen populations of Mesopotamia, a country that has been fallaciously baptized as ‘Iraq’ by the British colonials, only to be more securely plunged into an incredible bloodshed ever since the collapse of the Ottoman rule.


Here, we publish a valuable historical document that pertains to the current, dramatic situation of the Aramaeans who have been left alive in the Hell of Colonial Iraq, as Paradisiacal Mesopotamia turned out to regrettably be. It is the letter sent to the Iraqi President Calal Talabani, Premier Nuri Kamel al-Maliki. and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari, by the Aram-Naharaim Organisation, the Aramaic Democratic Organisation (ArDO), and the three archbishops of the West -Aramean Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch in Iraq, namely Mgr. Saverius Jamil Hawa, Metropolitan of Baghdad and Basra Archdiocese, Mgr. Gregorius Saliba Shamoun, Metropolitan of Mosul Archdiocese and environs, and Mgr. Timotheos Mousa Al- Shamani, Metropolitan of Mor Matta Archdiocese.


The letter was sent on 29 August 2007, and the authors petitioned the Iraqi government for particular attention to the situation of the Aramaeans. A modified version of this letter also was sent to the Kurdistan Regional Government, namely President Mashud Barzani and Premier Nechirvan Barzani.



We are convinced that the valuable document should become a matter of great concern for governments and international bodies , NGOs and Human Rights advocates as it describes the dismal situation of a historical nation mercilessly targeted by colonial powers and terrorist puppets in an unprecedented way. We therefore publish it integrally.


 Letter to the Most Honorable Mr. Nouri Kamel al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq



Nr.: 2007-08-29/17


Iraq, Baghdad: 29th of August 2007



1. Request for inclusion of the Indigenous Aramean Christian people of Iraq in the constitution

2 .  Our position on the so-called “Safe haven” for Christians.

3 .    Help protect our people to stay in Iraq.


To the Most Honorable Mr. Nouri Kamel al-Maliki

Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq

The Greene Zone

Baghdad, Iraq


Your Excellency:


The Arameans of Aram-Naharaim organisation is an international cultural and human rights organization to defend worldwide interests of the indigenous Christian Aramean (not to be confused with Armenians) people of Mesopotamia who have been present in the Cradle of Civilization for thousands of years. This ancient Semitic people, now divided into several denominations and spread throughout the Middle East, amount to approximately 8 million people worldwide.


The three archbishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch in Iraq write you this letter together with the Aramaic Democratic Organisation (ArDO) and the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim organisation to make you aware of the indigenous Christian Aramean people in Iraq and ask your sincere help to include them in the new Iraqi constitution. Secondly, we wish to present our views concerning the so-called “safe haven” for Christians as proposed by some people. And finally we ask for your help to protect our people to stay in Iraq.


In order to introduce our people in short to you, we have prepared a historical overview about the indigenous Aramean people including the testimonies of the brilliant historians of both the West-Syrian and the East-Syrian Church of Antioch. The historical overview discusses the Aramean origin of the various denominations which, today, are labelled with exotic names because of the intervention of the Western missionaries in the 16th and 19th centuries.


Your Excellency, as it may be known to you, the Aramean Indigenous people have made significant contributions to world civilizations, in particular through their Aramaic language, spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. This is perhaps best summarized by an eminent scholar from Oxford University who says, “…it is undeniable that the simple Aramaic alphabet of 22 letters has had the most extraordinary impact on the development of alphabetic writing systems throughout the world. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine how human culture and scientific learning could have progressed without it…”[1]…… It is thus without doubt one of the greatest gifts of the Aramean peoples to world culture. [2]

Unfortunately, the contribution of the Aramean people to world civilization is not recognized in the new Iraqi constitution, for they are presently excluded from it. In Article 124 we read, “This Constitution shall guarantee the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights for the various nationalities, such as Turkmen, Caldeans, Assyrians and all other components. A law shall regulate this


The second issue which we wish to bring to your attention is the so-called “safe haven” for Christians.

It came to our attention that some individuals (in the West) are talking about “safe haven” for Christians in Iraq in the Nineve- Plan, without our knowledge, approval or consultation with us. These individuals present themselves as being the “spokesmen” for all the Iraqi Christians, which is simply not true. In addition they label our nation with strange identities, which are not ours!


Our position in the matter of the “safe haven” is this one: We the three archbishops of the West- Aramean Syrian Church of Antioch, representing around 80.000 adherents, reject categorically the creation of a so-called “safe haven” for Christians. The reason is: Taking into account the present fragile situation of Iraq, this “safe haven” would certainly not be appreciated by some groups who oppose democracy and would seize every opportunity to create more chaos and anarchy, for they may consider the so-called “safe haven” as a threat. In addition they could use this as an excuse to commit atrocities against our nation, churches and other significant buildings. Such further fragmentation of Iraq will only contribute to more chaos, anarchy and problems in the country.


What we need in Iraq is peace, unity, stability and further implementation of democratic process and human rights, and such a “haven” for Christians would, to our view, not contribute to the realization of these important goals.


Our wish is that Iraq should remain united so that all the Iraqi people, regardless of their ethnicity and religion, can live together on the basis of love, respect, dignity, peace, brotherhood and mutual understanding. These are the principals we stand for!


Furthermore, these individuals present themselves with strange names invented and imposed by the outsiders, for political and religious reasons, who came to the Middle-East in the 16th and 19th centuries [3] and fragmented our nation in various sects to weaken us. Many of these people live in the relative luxury West, meaning they are far removed from the people they claim to represent and they do not have the slightest idea about the present situation in Iraq.

Their actions only make the situation worse for our people. Therefore, please ignore these individuals who certainly do not represent the Aramean indigenous nation of Iraq.


As to us, your Excellency, we wish to remain faithful to our forefathers who all testify of the Aramean origin of our nation, as explained on page 5-12 of the Historical Survey, and don’t want to be labeled by strange names[3] invented by the outsiders who were unaware of the Aramean Heritage of at least 3000 years (as recently recorded in the Multimedia project the Hidden Pearl).[1] Our church fathers and scholars have excelled one by one in their wisdom and knowledge in comparison with their contemporaries and enlightened the world of their time, not only with theological knowledge but also with the regular science. [4]


Those who do not truly remain faithful to the roots of their forefathers will, to our view, not be able to fully understand and cooperate with other nations on the basis of love, respect, equality and dignity.




The Aramean people are peaceful minded, living according to the ten commandments, showing respect, dignity and love to their neighbours and always respecting the law of the countries in which they reside. They show others the example of love and brotherhood. In contrast to other peoples they never resorted to the path of intolerance, fanaticism and violent uprising. On the contrary their motto has always been: loving and respecting your neighbour like yourself!

We finally hope that you have noticed our sincere concern regarding the situation of our people in Iraq and humbly request the following:

The saying, “Unknown, Unloved” is very well applicable to the situation of our nation, for many people are not familiar with the Aramean nation of Iraq, because they are excluded from the Iraqi constitution.


Therefore, in order to be able to attain their minimal fundamental human rights in new Iraq, to preserve, maintain and promote the genuine Aramean heritage and to do justice to the historical facts as well as to the testimonies of the revered scholars of the church of Antioch, it is of utmost importance to include the Aramean indigenous Christian people in the new Iraqi constitution. This will help to remove them from their current anonymity and help them to be recognized as an important part of the new Iraq.


The abduction and beheading of our beloved and peaceful minded brother Rev. Paulus Iskandar on October 11, 2006 has shocked and paralysed our nation entirely. To our dismay, on 22nd of November 2006 Mr. Isoh Majeed Hadaya, the president of Syriac Independent Movement Assembly (SIMA) in Iraq, was brutally killed in Baghdeda. On June 3, 2007 again our nation was shocked by the killing of the East- Aramean Chaldean priest Ragied Aziz Ganie along with three deacons. This shows to us that the perpetrators of these horrible acts are not familiar with love, brotherhood and respect. Therefore we forgive them and pray for them so that the Lord God may put His love in their hearts and open their eyes to learn what real love means.

We are convinced that the vast majority of Iraqi people want peace, love, stability and respect for everyone. Therefore we believe that the perpetrators do not represent the view of the peaceful minded Iraqi nation, but rather may be influenced by outsiders who have no interest in a stable and prosperous Iraq with basic human rights values and standards.


On the other hand we also believe that the exclusion of our nation from the Iraqi constitution may have contributed partly to these shocking events. The last worrisome point which we wish to bring to your attention is that our people are fleeing from Iraq because of insecurity, threats and confiscation of their hearth and home by those who have no interest in a stable and prosperous Iraq. In this way, Iraq is slowly but surely being cleaned of its original inhabitants, who have been living for thousands of years in this part of the world, which also became known as the cradle of civilization.


We pray that the Lord God may increase your wisdom, strength and insights in order to lead Iraq through these difficult times.

We hope and pray that under your leadership and that of your colleagues, Iraq may become beacon of human rights, democracy, prosperity, equality and mutual understanding between all Iraqis and a shining example throughout the Middle-East.


Respectfully yours;








Gabriel Sengo


Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organisation, P.O. Box 178, 7550 AD, Hengelo(Ov.) ; Netherlands



Endorsed and approved by:


The three archbishops of the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch in Iraq, representing around 80,000 adherents:



Mgr. Saverius Jamil Hawa, Metropolitan of Baghdad and Basra Archdiocese Mgr. Gregorius Saliba Shamoun, Metropolitan of Mosul Archdiocese and environs,

Mgr. Timotheos Mousa Al- Shamani, Metropolitan of Mor Matta Archdiocese and the most




The Aramaic Democratic Organisation (ArDO)

Mr. Gaby Gallo









[1]       Multimedia Project: The Hidden Pearl, Volume I, Page 58

The Hidden Pearl covers Three thousands years of Aramean history, culture and faith.

If you are interested in a copy of the Hidden Pearl please let us know, we would be honoured to                                              provide you with a copy

[2]       Idem [1]; page 27

[3]       The Western missionaries and the division within the Aramean people:

[4]       Page 5-12 of the Historical survey. These testimonies are also available online: