09/11/2010, 00.00
IRAQ
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Kirkuk: "Burn the Koran" campaign strengthens friendship between Christians and Muslims

Archbishop Louis Sako’s message read in the mosques, condemning the burning of the Koran during the homily for the Eid. For Islamic leaders Pastor Jones is not Christian. Imam of Kirkuk: "Our Christian brothers are always ready to show their solidarity."

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - In Kirkuk, the swift condemnation of Catholics of the proposed burning of the Koran, has brought Christians and Muslims closer. According to local sources local Imam’s read the message of Msgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, in the mosques during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr.  Together with a delegation of pastors, the bishop visited the local Muslim leaders to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

In his homily, held yesterday in the town mosque, Imam Ahmad said: "Our Christian brothers are always ready to show their solidarity. Their condemnation has reassured us. "

Another religious leader, Foad Al - Rifai, stressed that "the American clergyman [Terry Jones] is not the Christian." "We know the position of Christians in Kirkuk - he said - with the visit of the archbishop and his message. So we thank them for their fraternity and respect their presence. "

The proximity of Christians has been appreciated by the mayor and the civil authorities. Many have heard and praised the positions of the Vatican, broadcasting them on television. Yesterday, Sheikh Ismail Al Hadida in front of the Cathedral of Kirkuk called on all Muslims to protect Christians and the Archbishop.

Despite these words of reassurance Christians are still afraid. If Pastor Jones goes back on his decision, to burn the Koran there will be a backlash on the streets of Kirkuk that no religious leader or civil authority will be able to control.

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