AsiaNews) –Praise for the Chaldean Archdiocese in favour of inter-religious dialogue and coexistence, the idea that “only the Church can unite Iraqis”, are just some of the points reflected on by imam’s in Kirkuk during Friday prayers on September 28th last. Among them Ahmad Muhamad Amin, of Al Noor mosque. The “fruitful results” of Catholic initiatives launched for Ramadan were referred to AsiaNews by their promoter, Archbishop Louis Sako.
“In the ritual of Friday prayer – says the prelate – some imam’s spoke in praise of the dinner (iftar), which we hosted last week for local Muslim leaders. They also expressed their desire to return the gesture for Christian leaders. One of them even told the faithful attending his mosque that only the Church can unite Iraqis”.
Marking Islam’s holy month, in “a gesture of respect and reconciliation”, the Archdiocese of Kirkuk invited Christians to pray for their Muslim brothers at the same hour in which they offer prayer. This is why they published a calendar of Ramadan rites, distributed to over 3 thousand families in the city; it then hosted a dinner – the meal which breaks fasting after sundown – which saw the participation of over 150 religious and civil authorities from the Muslim community. Among those invited there were also representatives of the radical Shiite leader Moqtada Al Sadr and the Shiite spiritual guide Ali Al Sistani.
“This dinner – said Msgr. Sako during the course of the evening – is a banquet of brotherhood, an expression of tolerance, harmony and co-existence in this city which has more than one million inhabitants”. “We are brothers, and the firm conviction does not require proof, as we are all from the same God creator. It is inappropriate for us to act as two brothers at war Cain and Abel, for whatever reason” continued Msgr. Sako, who added “we cannot live without reconciliation, collaboration and above all without sincere dialogue”.
At the end of the meal the Mayor of Kirkuk along with some Sunni Imams spoke of the importance of the Christian presence in Iraq and expressed their appreciation of the role the Church plays in furthering dialogue and peace.