Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of
Kirkuk, on Saturday opened a new private primary school, 'Myriamana (Our Lady
Mary),' near the Chaldean cathedral. Representatives of the local clergy,
National Education General Director Schant, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamad Al-Hamin,
imam at Kirkuk's grand mosque, and Sheikh Ismael Hadidi attended the event. The
new educational facility, which has a nursery and a kindergarten, has more than
100 boys and girls, Christian and Muslims, supervised by 15 staff members.
For Iraqi Christians, the new school is reason for
hope and a cause to stay. It gives a boost to the will to live together. As the
archbishop said in his opening address, "A school can always be found near a
church because the Church's mission is to educate and train. It is 'Mater et
Magistra.' In such an initiative we do not have any material interest, but only
a desire to provide a solid education and training to the new generations."
Financially, the "poorest students will not pay any
fees. Middle class kids will pay only half. The fee is symbolic because the
school is funded by the diocese. Christians and Muslims will study together. They
will learn the principles of both religions in positive, fair and responsible
way to that they can live together in mutual respect and harmony and thus
promote a culture of dialogue and peace that can guarantee a better future."
Director Schak spoke about the role Christians have
played in Iraqi culture, as well as their contribution to the country's
development. In his address, the imam praised the initiatives of
the Church to bring together the people of Kirkuk.
This is the first private Christian school in Kirkuk. Under
Saddam Hussein, all schools were state-run. The new government has for its part authorised the
opening of private schools and universities.