Christian leaders in Iraq are calling for a global investigation into a tragic incident where 113 individuals lost their lives in a predominantly Christian town during a wedding ceremony. According to information from the Associated Press, Father Boutros Sheeto, a Syriac Christian Priest in Iraq, expressed to the news agency that the fire was not a result of an accidental occurrence. He, personally, suffered the loss of ten of his family members in this devastating incident.
In a recent telephone interview, Sheeto voiced his strong opposition to the notion that the tragic fire was a mere accident. He emphasized that numerous fellow Christian leaders share this conviction, asserting that the fire was deliberately set. Consequently, they are advocating for a comprehensive international inquiry into the incident.
Additionally, the priest conveyed his dissatisfaction with the response of the Iraqi government to the situation, contending that the administration under President Abdul Latif Rashid has shown a lack of interest, a sentiment widely shared among Christians in Iraq. Among the casualties was Sheeto’s sister, an Iraqi-American who had journeyed from Arizona to the Middle East to provide a surprise visit to their family during the wedding celebration. Tragically, in addition to his sister, Sheeto also endured the loss of his parents, another sister, and two nephews in this heartbreaking incident.
In a separate interview with Reuters, the Christian leader conveyed that in Iraq, it’s a common practice for people to delay taking action until a catastrophe unfolds. He elaborated that, in the face of such tragedies, the only recourse is to confront them head-on. He also pointed out that their homeland is plagued by avarice and corruption, resulting in a dearth of close-knit families in Iraq.
Another religious figure who has raised doubts about the origins of the fire is Catholic Chaldean Cardinal Louis Sako. In an official statement, he asserted that the fire was a result of an individual’s deliberate choice to compromise their principles and the well-being of their country for a specific agenda.
In a distinct statement, Benedictus Younan Hanno, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in Iraq, likewise advocated for a global inquiry into the incident. Hanno also expressed his disagreement with the official account provided by Iraqi authorities.