» 09/03/2012, 00.00
Kirkuk Archdiocese opens private school for Christians and Muslims
'Myriamana' (Our Lady Mary) is a co-ed facility. Kirkuk archbishop Louis Sako was present at the opening ceremony along with local clergy and the imam of the city's grand mosque. This is the first private Christian school to open in the city since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
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.
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Together with priests and lay people, the archbishop visits a local medical facility. The medical drugs he brought will be distributed among the city’s many hospitals. The director thanks the prelate for an initiative that will “strengthen trust in our Christian brothers”. The prelate publishes a letter for the sacred month of fasting and praying. “We join you in prayer to God,” he writes, “that he may give us peace and stability.”
"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.
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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.
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