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Vatican official visits Iraqi mosque; Kurdish leader proclaims Christmas holiday

Catholic World News - December 18, 2012

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, visited a mosque in Kirkuk on December 16, in a gesturing promoting inter-religious accord in the Iraqi city.

Cardinal Sandri was greeted at Kirkuk’s largest Sunni mosque, where Imam Ahmad Amin asked the prelate to convey his greetings to Pope Benedict XVI. Unfortunately the inter-religious amity was tested later in the day, when Shi’ite mosques were attacked in a coordinated series of bombings.

The cardinal also met with the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk, Najm Alddin Karim. During the Vatican official’s visit, Karim announced that Christmas Day will be observed as a public holiday in Kirkuk.

In a related development, the Iraqi government has blocked an Egyptian television channel that broadcast a fatwa against Christians by a radical Islamic leader.

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