» 04/26/2012, 00.00
"Building bridges of peace", a project that unites Christians and Muslims in Kirkuk
The Chaldean archbishopric holds a reconciliation forum today. Some 50 political, religious and cultural leaders attend the event. Mgr Sako presents a seven-point proposal, signed by participants, as a "joint commitment" to dialogue. A committee is set to see to its implementation.
(AsiaNews) - The Chaldean Archbishopric of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, organised a
reconciliation forum today on "Building bridges of peace", on the initiative of
Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of the city. The meeting brought together Christian
and Muslims leaders, altogether some 50 people, including politicians like the
provincial governor, lawmakers, party chiefs and tribal sheiks; religious leaders
from the Shia, Sunni and Christian communities; and representatives of the Kurdish,
Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian-Chaldean communities.
The forum comes
a few days after a series of attacks left a trail of blood and destruction in
Kirkuk as well as the rest of the country. Despite the departure of US troops,
the situation has not improved and peace and security remain as elusive as
is "an opportunity for all parties" to sit around a table to talk "in a
civilised manner", Church sources in Kirkuk said. This way they can try to
solve problems and bridge divisions, thus "reducing tensions rather than make
it worse with threats."
various speeches and interventions, Mgr Sako presented a seven-point proposal
that participants signed as a joint "commitment" to dialogue and peace. An ad
hoc committee made up of individuals from various backgrounds will be set up to
evaluate the application of its principles and directives.
In his address,
Mgr Sako reiterated the principle of dialogue with Islam so that people can
live together and overcome theological issues that today are unsolvable.
For Christians, this
means adopting a language that can be "understood" by the Muslim community. At the
same time, a "secular civil society" is necessary based on "shared Iraqi citizenship."
A number of
plans are on the drawing board to achieve these goals. They include a
kindergarten for 80 children (10 per cent Muslim) and an elementary school that
should open in September.
As those behind
these initiatives note, coexistence begins in infancy.
Mgr. Sako’s Message for Ramadan in Kirkuk
The Chaldean archbishop asks Muslims that this sacred month be a time of prayer and reconciliation. He calls on Christians to observe the Muslim fast, not to eat in public and to dress modestly. In recent years in Mosul and Baghdad bombings occurred even during Ramadan. Fears for the population and Christians.
In Kirkuk Christian and Muslim leaders for dialogue and reconciliation
At the invitation of Msgr. Sako, 50 religious leaders are meeting during Ramadan to launch an appeal to political leaders for an end to conflicts and divisions. "We are all brothers, sons of the same God we must respect and cooperate for the good of the people and our country."
Kirkuk: young Christian teacher is freed thanks to help of Muslims
Joint intervention of army and tribal leaders led to the release of Namir Nadhim Gourguis, kidnapped on May 14th last. No ransom was paid. Decisive the mediation between Imam and tribal chiefs. Msgr Sako: “the Christian community of Kirkuk rejoices”.
Kirkuk: young Christian abducted, tortured and beheaded
Ashur Yacob Issa, 29, was the father of three children. He was abducted three days ago. Negotiations for his released failed. This morning police found his body, which bore “horrific marks of torture”. In voicing his outrage, the archbishop of Kirkuk slammed this “inhuman act,” urging everyone to work together to “protect defenceless citizens”.
Silence must not descend on Archbishop of Mosul
The appeal was launched by the Archbishop of Kirkuk, 12 days on from Msgr. Rahoo’s abduction. To the Bishops and Christians of the world: “do not remain indifferent to this suffering, do not leave us alone to face this trial”. Amid increased fears, today in Kirkuk 15 Muslim leaders ask once again that the prelate be released.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.