On the ninth of September 2021, the Iraqi Social Forum’s Minorities and Cultural Diversity Path conducted training on social diversity and ethnic minorities in Iraq. The training lasted for five hours, from ten in the morning until three in the afternoon, at Info Center organization for Research and Development. Eight activists, female activists, and volunteers: three females and five males, interested in the issues of minorities and their rights in Iraq participated in it.
Colleague Batool Kareem, the assistant coordinator in the secretariat of the Iraqi Social Forum, inaugurated the training by introducing the forum, its purpose, activities, and its paths, including the path of Minorities and Cultural Diversity. After that, our colleague Karrar Refa’at introduced himself as the coordinator of the Minorities and Cultural Diversity Path and the activities that the Path is working on during this year.
Colleague Karrar began the training by showing a group of pictures of people and groups of different sects and religions under the title “minorities”. He also recalled many stories that revolve around their religious and societal rituals and customs. After that, our colleague Karrar discussed in detail the importance of minorities in Iraq as they are a cultural and even economic wealth that adds a lot to the culture and heritage of Iraq.
Later, colleague Karrar spoke about the difficulties these communities face and the marginalization they are constantly exposed to, which allowed their identity to be blurred and subverted under the remnants of sectarianism and stereotypes, thus undermining their sense of citizenship and they’re having to assume other labels in order to coexist and avoid exposure to harm.
Then. the trainer reviewed a set of patterns that incite hate speech, which led to an increase in tension between different groups of society, thus increasing violence among them, leading to the breakdown of societal bonds and the absence of their individual and collective identity. In the last part, the colleague Karrar presented the concept of citizenship, which would close the gaps between the components of the Iraqi society, restore relations between them, and help in recognizing the other, as well as their rights and duties.
The participants expressed the extent to which they greatly benefited from this training that helped them to fill the gaps in their knowledge of the Iraqi society, correcting many misconceptions about the other, and understanding the difference in its positive form and its true meaning; that is the enriching diversity.
It is worth noting that the training is part of a series of training and campaigns implemented by the Forum this year in partnership with the Caribou Foundation.