08/10/2010, 00.00
IRAQ
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Mgr. Sako’s Message for Ramadan in Kirkuk

The Chaldean archbishop asks Muslims that this sacred month be a time of prayer and reconciliation. He calls on Christians to observe the Muslim fast, not to eat in public and to dress modestly. In recent years in Mosul and Baghdad bombings occurred even during Ramadan. Fears for the population and Christians.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews)-Ramadan - which begins tomorrow in Iraq - is "a special time of prayer," but also "courage for forgiveness and reconciliation and justice." This is the hope that Mgr. Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of the city of Kirkuk has expressed to Muslims. In a message released today, the prelate asks Christians to "respect the feelings of their Muslim brothers" and to avoid eating in public and to wear modest clothing. Christians are also concerned about an increase in attacks against the population and against them.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, devoted to fasting and prayer to burn the sin. This year it begins tomorrow. During this period, Muslims do not eat or drink anything from 4 am until 6:30 pm. In Iraq it is very difficult because during the day temperatures reach up to 50 °.

Another difficulty is the insecurity in the country.  Months of political stalemate in the formation of a new government have left the door open to violent groups. Several extremist Muslims use the month of Ramadan for attacks and violence. In past years, during the holy month, particularly in Mosul and Baghdad, there have been bombings and explosions targeting the population in general and also against Christians.

For this occasion, Mgr. Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, today released a message:

"On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, on behalf of Christians in Kirkuk, I would like to express our sincere wishes to our Muslim brothers in this month of fasting, so it may be a special time of prayer and conversion, a time to grow in virtue. Ramadan is also an opportunity to find the courage to forgive and achieve reconciliation and justice, to heal the wounds of the Iraqi people and restore peace, security and stability in a life of dignity.

We hope that very soon a new government is formed, a national unity government capable of assuming full responsibility, a government for all Iraqis and not only some of them ...

I would also ask Christians to respect the feelings of their Muslim brothers, not to eat and to wear modest clothing in public, joining them in prayer for peace and stability.

He who pursues justice and kindness will find life and honour. (Proverbs 21:21)

Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching (Koran, 16:125).

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