07/31/2008, 00.00
IRAQ
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Christians and Muslims show solidarity for Kirkuk attack victims

In the company of Sunni and Shia religious leaders as well as tribal leaders, Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, today visited in hospital the people injured in last Monday’s bomb attack. This initiative represents an additional signal of the common desire for peace and mutual forgiveness.
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – Kirkuk’s top religious and political authorities visited survivors who were injured in the 28 July suicide bomb attack in which scores of others were killed. Kirkuk’s archbishop, Mgr Louis Sako, along with Muslim religious leaders, both Sunni and Shia, as well as Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen tribal leaders, went to the city’s hospital to visit the wounded and offer them some comfort.

The gesture was significant because it saw the city’s political and religious leaders show “solidarity towards the victims of the massacre,” irrespective of creed or ethnicity, and reaffirm their “condemnation of every form of violence’, whatever its source.

Last Monday a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a crowd that was protesting against the new election law adopted by parliament.

The crowd had gathered near local government offices, close to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Demonstrators had just begun their march when a suicide bomber blew himself up, causing a massacre, killing 28 and wounding dozens.

At the end of the hospital visit, the delegation met the leaders of the most important Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), as well as their Turkmen counterpart, urging all of them to work together to bring calm back to the region.

“I call on political leaders to think about the common good of the population and fight the aberrant logic of violence,” Monsignor Sako said.

The prelate also said that he hoped that all political parties “will sit together around the table to talk and discuss,” putting aside threats and extremisms because “with violence nothing is obtained,” whilst with mutual “forgiveness” it will be possible to rebuilt unity and peaceful coexistence for all.

This morning’s initiative, which the Catholic Church strongly backed, was unanimously welcomed by both Muslim religious leaders and all political parties. All local media covered it.

During the visit the archbishop of Kirkuk handed out medicines to the wounded, wishing them a quick recovery, inviting them to come to “a brotherly meal.”

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