11/04/2010, 00.00
IRAQ

Archbishop Sako, security and tolerance necessary for future of Iraq’s Christians

An appeal of the Archbishop of Kirkuk: civil authorities must strive to ensure security, all Muslim religious condemn attacks and encourage texts that promote peaceful coexistence. Sentences of hatred towards other religions must be removed from the school books of all Islamic countries.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - To ensure security schools, religious sermons, and media must fight against the spirit of intolerance and hatred towards followers of other religions.  This is the appeal that Mgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, launched in the aftermath of the massacre in the Cathedral of Our Lady, in Baghdad.

"Our ordeal – the Archbishop tells AsiaNews - is hard and it seems unending. The carnage that took place in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Baghdad, with 58 deaths, including two young priests, and 67 wounded, has deeply shaken us. We are losing patience, but not faith and hope. What is most striking is that an event of this magnitude came immediately after the holding of the Synod for the Middle East and its appeal for a harmonious coexistence between Christians and Muslims. "

"What we need is prayer, moral support and fellowship. Without it we feel alone and isolated”.

"It is true - says Mgr. Sako - that Islam recognizes Christians and Jews and the Sabians, because they are the People of the Book. They cite the verse Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans - those who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve (62 of Surat Al-Baqara), but against this the extremists use other verses such as the following “If anyone desires anything other than Islam as a religion in the hereafter he will be among the losers” (Al-Imran 85).

The Archbishop offers some "practical and immediate measures":

"1 - It 's the duty of the security authorities in Iraq to provide protection for places of worship for Christians, especially on Sundays.

2 - Muslim religious leaders of all faiths have a duty to condemn these terrorist attacks in public and highlight the religious texts, which support the spirit of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between religions.

3 – A change in the curriculum at all levels and in all Muslim countries in particular the withdrawal of all the words of hatred against the followers of other religions.

4 - A spirit of tolerance and coexistence must be spread by the media and themes should be introduced to promote cooperation among citizens with the elimination of religious intolerance, such as the principles of sociology, philosophy, history and comparative religion".

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