Blog Archives

Periodical meetings with Partner NGOs

On the 28th of March 2015 IF hosted the 6th periodical meeting for the representatives of the 10 partner NGOs. The meeting was dedicated to explore further means to enhance TABEIR map and discuss various scenarios for the FOE short movies which will be produced by the partner NGOs as part of the first round of the small grants funded through TABEIR project.

 

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IF and partner NGOs continued their efforts to provide the In-country training to journalists, citizen journalists and NGO members across Iraq. By the end of March 2015, IF and its partner NGOs trained 1326 participants through conducting 54 training events throughout Iraq.

 

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In June 2014 IF in partnership with ICFJ developed and designed the TABEIR Iraq interactive mapping and resource platform. The platform provides a secure site where journalists and freedom-of-expression activists in Iraq can report on threats to freedom of expression and harassment and attacks on journalists and activists. IF and the network of FOE defenders formed through in-country trainings provided by IF’s 10 partner NGOs continued to update the map with new FOE violations. As of the end of March 2015, the TABEIR map has recorded 80 FOE violations. The map can be accessed from the following link: https://www.tabeiriraq.org/reports/

The Iraq Foundation congratulates Ms. Suhaila Al-Asadi, our senior Project Manager in Iraq, on 10 years with the Iraq Foundation. Ms. Al-Asadi, a lawyer, is an expert on women’s issues, and has successfully led many of IF’s women-related projects, as well as projects on constitutional and human rights, accountability, and the judiciary. Her professionalism and high level of performance have commanded universal respect and helped the Foundation excel. Thank you Suhaila, and we hope to work together for the next 10 years to serve Iraq.

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The staff of the Iraq Foundation is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sayed Mohammed Bahrul Ulum. He was a true Iraqi patriot, a man of deep learning and enlightenment, and a wonderful story-teller who believed in friendship. His efforts to help lead Iraq towards a brighter future were an inspiration to many.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/070420151

One the 29th of March, 2015 the Iraqi Council of Representatives presented IF with an award recognizing its role in organizing a meeting of NGOs in the parliament during November 2014. IF would like to thank our Manager of Operations Dhefaf Al-Jarahi for her role in representing IF during the planning for the NGOs meeting and at the award ceremony.

Dhefaf & Mr. Sabah Al-Karboli

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Dhefaf - Dr. Sami - Dr. Saad

On March 15th, 2015 the Iraq Foundation’s Suhaila al-Assadi presented a statement during a hearing of the Council of Representative’s Committee for Religious Endowments and Religious Affairs on the topic “Moderation and Tolerance As Our Pathway to Stability and Security.” Consistent with the Foundation’s commitment to pluralism, inclusiveness, and celebration of diversity, Ms. Assadi’s statement calls for a return to the peaceful coexistence of Iraq’s past in order to combat the negative effects of the spread of violence and the rising influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. IF was one of only a few NGOs to be invited to give a statement. The following is a summary of Ms. Assadi’s statement.

Interfaith Coexistence

The Iraq Foundation (IF) thanks the Committee on Endowments for its decision to hold a hearing on the subject of peaceful coexistence and for inviting us to speak at the hearing. We hope that this meeting provides practical results and decisions that achieve progress towards a true rapprochement among religions. We value the role of the Council of Representatives (CoR) as a respected and honest mediator in reconciling differences and resolving disagreements through dialogue among people from different cultures and religions. We hope the CoR’s efforts will continue to strengthen Iraq. May God bless your steps and bring you success.

I am delighted to discuss a highly important theme regarding the unity of the Iraqi people and to highlight the moderate and real vision of Islam and other monotheistic religions, all of which teach tolerance and acceptance of others. We believe that interaction between members of differing religions is necessary. All religions are enriched by a level of interaction, exchange, and harmony with others; a religion cannot exist in isolation from the contextual effects of culture, environment, time, and history.

Iraq is the homeland of the most ancient civilizations, and diverse populations have lived and settled on its land. These populations participated in building Iraq’s civilization and establishing its successive states and identity. Specific circumstances, religious, educational, linguistic, and demographic, have helped to create a diverse society in Iraq including: Arabs; Kurds; Turkmen; Christians; Mandeans; Yazidis; Shabak, and others all of whom participated in creating the social and cultural heritage of Iraq. The historical record shows harmony and coexistence among the members of earlier Iraqi society, with peaceful community relations and mutual respect between religious and ethnic groups. In addition, from the earliest of times, our history shows active participation of outstanding individuals from all religions and ethnicities in building the state and strengthening academic, financial, and cultural institutions. Socially, Iraqis from different religions have participated in the religious celebrations of different groups in order to congratulate their neighbors; Iraqis also visit the shrines of other religious groups and sects. In fact, many shrines are common to several religions.

Iraqis accept this diversity because they strongly believe that all these religions were revealed by God’s prophets and beloved ones, and they believe that all of these prophets have spiritual and holy status. People from different religions are used to presenting vows at the shrines of other religious groups. This is because Iraqis believe that we are one people, encompassing all its members and constituents. However, today, the escalating level of violence and the deteriorating security situation represent the greatest threat facing Iraqis from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. It is necessary to reaffirm Iraq’s cultural

history of social and religious tolerance, and continue forwards in the direction of rationality, coexistence, and tolerance. By taking measures that call for reviewing our attitudes towards other Iraqis, we can ensure a return to logical thinking characterized by tolerance and coexistence in peace and security. At the same time, this will prevent the tarnishing of religions and ethnicities in a society that that includes multiple sects and ethnicities. The following points aim to support this objective:

• Commitment to the constitution

The Iraqi constitution provides the legal framework for the development of legislation against discrimination. Article 14 states that all Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination, and Article 16 states that the state shall ensure equal opportunities for all Iraqis. Article 125 guarantees the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of the various ethnicities, and Article 2 (c) prevents any legislation inconsistent with the rights enshrined in the constitution. Therefore, it is the duty of the legislature to enact legislation which ensures respect for, and implementation of, these provisions.

• Commitment to a unified position.

Progress must be made towards the unification of religious discourse which calls for rapprochement and coexistence between members of the different communities in one society.
We urgently need to frame a code of honor that will be adopted by various sects and religions which emphasizes maintaining the unity of the national fabric, renouncing extremism, denouncing sectarian rhetoric, and fostering a spirit of tolerance

• Adopting open dialogue and building bridges of trust
We must intensify efforts to establish communications and dialogue between religious leaders. These efforts should include a code of honor in order to assist in finding solutions, exchanging ideas, unifying shared visions, and addressing misunderstandings resulting from a lack of communication.

• Encouraging the role of civil society organizations in the promotion of a culture of coexistence between religions
The role of civil and international organizations in strengthening and promoting dialogue, coexistence, and identifying the roots of discord between groups must be strengthened.

• Rejecting exclusion and marginalization

All monotheistic religions call for peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding between different races and cultures without exclusion for sectarian or ethnic affiliation, to achieve peace and trust in society. Additionally, they call for the adoption of dialogue that leads to increased unity of humanity. We need to promote inclusion as part of our value system through education, culture, and the media to root it in society.

IF is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sayyid Shakir Sayyid Mahmood Al-Sumaidaie, the father of our board member Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, and head of the Sumaidaie clan. Our thoughts are with his family as they go through this time of loss. We extend to them our sincerest condolences.

On Jan. 24, 2015, in an extraordinary move by the  modern founders and activists in  Iraqi civil society, the first Civil Society Leaders Conference was held in the Oil Cultural Center.  The conference honored 50 activists and civil society organizations, from all of Iraq’s provinces, who have contributed to Iraq’s civil society for more than 10 years. The Iraq Foundation was one of the first organizations to be honored, as well as a number of organizations which founded the core of  Iraqi civil society after  2003. The event also honored activists  like Umaia Aljibara,  lawyer Saadia Lami, and others who have sacrificed their lives in order to advance Iraq’s civil society. The conference was held in the presence of hundreds of organizations working in Iraq as well as members of the House of Representatives, the Baghdad Provincial Council, and the Commission on Human Rights.

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IF held an organizational management workshop at the Holiday Inn Dunes- Beirut on December 9-13, 2014

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