ASIA/IRAQ - Christians in the Nineveh Plain host Muslims for the evening meal that interrupts Ramadan fasting

Thursday, 14 June 2018 ramadan   middle east   oriental churches   dialogue   area crisis

Bartella (Agenzia Fides) - The initiatives of coexistence and reconciliation in the towns and villages of the Nineveh Plain in which the local Christian and Islamic communities find themselves sharing the iftar, the evening meal with which the Muslims interrupt the daily fast, during the holy month of Ramadan, continue. On Tuesday, a community iftar was hosted in the city of Bartella, 15 kilometers from Mosul, at the local socio-cultural center of the Syro-Orthodox Church. The initiative, also sponsored by the Italian Association of Volunteers "Un Ponte Per...", also saw the participation of political and military representatives of Mosul and of the Province of Nineveh, together with members of the clergy of different Churches and Christian communities - including the Syro-Orthodox Bishop Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun and Bishop Mor Timotheos Mousa al Shamani - and leaders and faithful of the local Sunni Islamic communities.
The Nineveh Plain, in Iraq, has long been a place of peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities and other ethnic-religious minorities. A mosaic undermined by tensions, violence and conflicts, and finally overturned in 2014, when most of that region fell under the control of the jihadist militiamen of the Islamic State (Daesh) with consequent displacement of tens of thousands of people. Also in Bartella, during the occupation of Daesh, churches had been profaned, and the signs and destruction of the jihadist occupation still deeply mark the face of the city, once a great Christian majority.
In the Nineveh Plain the association "Un Ponte Per ...." has launched a program to promote peace and reconciliation among local communities, supported also by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) . (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 14/6/2018)