Iraqi archbishop sends message to Muslim leaders for Ramadan

Rome, Sep 2, 2008 / 11:28 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, Louis Sako, addressed the city’s Islamic leaders yesterday on the occasion of the beginning Ramadan. During his speech, the prelate prayed for goodness, brotherhood and peace between Christians and Muslims around the world.

According to the Italian Bishops’ news agency, Servizio Informazione Religiosa, the archbishop opened his address by sending, “my beloved Muslim brothers and sisters, my most heart-felt congratulations and best wishes for the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan.”

He continued, “As you know, Ramadan is an extended time of prayers, fasting and charity. It is a month of sacrifices and good deeds. As the holy Koran says, ‘Then shall anyone who has done an ounce of good see it! And anyone who has done an ounce of evil, shall see it’ (99:7-8).”

The prelate encouraged the leaders to “invoke God the Almighty that He may accept your devout obedience and ensure for the Iraqi nation the peace that is the foundation of goodness and brotherhood between us, and that He may remove violence, hostility and conflict from us.” He also called on Christians to “join their Muslim brothers, so that God will ensure peace and stability to all of us.”

The archbishop finished his statement by asking Christians to respect the Muslim devotions of fasting during this time by “not eating in public and dressing properly.”

“May God the Almighty bless us all, each other’s brothers and sisters,” the archbishop said.