03/05/2012, 00.00
IRAQ
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Kirkuk: Young Christians and Muslims promote peace and interfaith dialogue

by Joseph Mahmoud
In the Chaldean cathedral in 35 young people, Muslims and Christians, met for the third time the idea of non-violence and peaceful coexistence. Imam of the city also addresses event and leads group on visit to the mosque. Mgr Sako: "young people, future and hope for the country for a lasting peace."

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - In the Chaldean cathedral of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, the Archbishop Mgr. Louis Sako has met with about 35 boys and girls, Muslims and Christians, on "non-violence and peaceful coexistence" among the faithful of the two great monotheistic religions. The event was held in the late afternoon of March 3: For the third time the young people held animated discussions and exchanges, to strengthen the hopes and expectations of interfaith harmony in the city.

The Amal group, engaged in civil society and the Chaldean archbishop organized the workshop last weekend (see photo). Addressing the opening session of the meeting, Msgr. Louis Sako greeted those present and spoke about the importance of the culture of non-violence, mutual respect between people of different faiths; this added the prelate, requires a "direct knowledge of the sources, while we often rely on unverified stories and hearsay. " "We have to convince ourselves that our destiny is one - the archbishop explained - and open up to dialogue, take responsibility towards each other."

After the meeting, the participants visited the Chaldean cathedral and Msgr. Sako explained to them "how Christians pray to God and symbols of the liturgy." Among the promoters of the initiative, there are also a priest of the archdiocese, Mrs. Surud of the  Amal Association, who explored the concept of "non-violence."

During the evening, the group were also addressed by imam of the mosque in Kirkuk, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamad Al-Amin, who stressed the concept of "non-violence in Islam." At the end, all the attendees visited the mosque and heard the explanations provided in the meantime by the Muslim religious leader.

"These workshops - says Msgr. Sako,to AsiaNews at the end of the day - are very useful because they create long-term relationships between young people. They are the future and hope of the country, so we must provide them with the correct, solid and concrete culture to achieve the ideal of peaceful co-existence and respect for pluralism. "

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