Fr. Samir Youssef, Chaldean priest of the diocese of Amadiya (Iraqi Kurdistan) is promoting a project to transform “young Muslims, Christians and Yazidis” into “seeds of dialogue ” to breathe new life into Mosul, the Nineveh plain, and Iraq as a whole.
The aim of the project is to find youth “eager to talk, communicate, and bear witness” that living together is possible and that from this, a model can emerge applicable across the country, and beyond.
Fr. Samir Fr Samir, a 43-year-old graduate from Rome’s Gregorian University, said that, in order to overcome the murderous madness of the Islamic State, which has covered with blood a land already brutalised by years of wars and violence, it is necessary to start with “a plan of dialogue and outreach at the local level”, involving first of all children and young people, the new generations, “who will be tasked with building life together” beyond their respective religions.
The group with young people has already met twice to lay the foundations for future work, which will continue through the summer. “With this experience, the group can become the salt and the light of this land, and involve the whole population, talking first of all at home, explaining issues and arguments at meetings. This way they can make other religions known to their families, creating a common basis for dialogue. Often, great things stem from small ones.”
Fr.Samir wants to promote many ideas and plans at these meetings: from the stories of “special” children who lived under the Islamic State (IS) and those who lost a father or a mother to the Jihadists, to summer camps open to young people of all faiths to develop even greater outreach and exchange.
With the fruit of the work of this first group of young people, which could be expanded, we can “create also a website that presents the meetings, trips, and stories.” Unlike other social media that too often espouse hate and division, such a page could be a “virtual place for outreach and exchange, a testimony to living together.”
“It is necessary to start with this country’s new generations, a land crossed by four great rivers: the Tigris, the Euphrates, petroleum and great religions. Such a flow of power and life can bring peace to the world from a land that has always been a beacon of civilisation since ancient times.”