Chaldean Cathedral, Kirkuk, Iraq
1st June 2011
Iraqi MUSLIM LEADERS have joined their Christian counterparts for prayers at a CHURCH in Kirkuk, in a public bid to ease tensions in the disputed northern city.
Around 1,500 people -- including Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen -- gathered at the Chaldean Cathedral late on Tuesday (31st May) , singing Christian hymns before reciting prayers and verses from the Bible and the Koran.
"Christians and Muslims have gathered together here in Kirkuk, which has suffered from deadly violence that has scared us all in recent weeks," said Louis Sakho, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, scene of deadly unrest last month.
"It is appropriate for Christians and Muslims to pray together for peace and stability in our country and our city, which has been shocked by recent events."
Sakho added he hoped to hold similar prayers in Sunni and Shiite mosques in future, "to have a firm and true fraternal stand for peace, stability and security in our city."
Adnan Sayid Fattah Agha, the head of the Kurdish Kakiyah tribe, noted the event "brought us back to the original reality -- Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen together. Their lives and their destiny are one, living together."
Kirkuk lies at the centre of a swathe of territory claimed by the central government and Kurdish regional authorities.