‘Human fraternity’ offers hope for Iraq as countries renew pledge to rebuild

‘Human fraternity’ offers hope for Iraq as countries renew pledge to rebuild
Noura Al-Kaabi, UAE's minister of culture and youth, praised the joint effort, in partnership with UNESCO, towards rebuilding Mosul. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 June 2021

‘Human fraternity’ offers hope for Iraq as countries renew pledge to rebuild

‘Human fraternity’ offers hope for Iraq as countries renew pledge to rebuild
  • In February 2018, UNESCO launched the “Revival of the Spirit of Mosul” initiative
  • The initiative includes the creation of educational institutes, a museum, among other restorations of monumental landmarks

RIYADH: The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF) held a webinar on Thursday, called “Pope Francis in Iraq: A Moment of Human Fraternity,” to discuss concrete steps that can be taken to ensure that the seed of harmony in Iraq continues to grow, with partnerships across all religious and ethnic divides.

“We, the people of Iraq, are working to sustain the momentum of Pope Francis’s visit,” Hassan Nadhem, Iraq’s minister of culture, said. “We’ve created a high commission in the general secretariat of the council of ministers dedicated to this mission, and have many upcoming projects.”

A department for cultural diversity also has been set up, he added.

Three months ago, Pope Francis went on a “pilgrimage” to Iraq, becoming the first Catholic pope in history to visit the country. He traveled to the cities including Mosul, Baghdad and Irbil with a message of peace.

“You are all brothers,” he said.

Mohammed Abdel Salam, secretary-general of the HCHF and former adviser to the grand imam of Al-Azhar, reaffirmed the pontiff’s message in his opening statement, saying: “We are all brothers, and Iraq is in all our hearts.”

He said: “Today, I sit among a diverse group of people who represent hope in their hard work and determination for the cause of human fraternity. Today we sit together for the sake of Iraq and to discuss how we can build on Pope Francis’ historic visit.

“Iraq is a country with people from all walks of life,” he added.

Iraq, the “cradle of civilization” known for its history of coexistence under Mesopotamian rule, has been plagued by wars, economic crises and, more recently, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health crisis.

Mosul, in particular, has been devastated by militant extremists in the past few years. Its mosques and churches have been destroyed, its city library set aflame and antiquities trafficked, all at the hands of Daesh.

In February 2018, UNESCO launched the “Revival of the Spirit of Mosul” initiative at the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in Kuwait.

The $100 million program aims to link international efforts to help reconstruct the devastated city and restore its heritage.

Noura Al-Kaabi, UAE's minister of culture and youth, praised the joint effort, in partnership with UNESCO, toward rebuilding Mosul.

“We took the leap to commit to the ‘Revival of the Spirit of Mosul’ because we wanted to stand by our brothers and sisters in Mosul and Iraq, to support them in reviving the identity of the city and rebuilding their future, instilling hope and demonstrating the power of solidarity.

“The UAE hopes this is a project that is sustainable; this is very important to us,” she said. “The project has already employed 600 people and is set to target 1,000 employment and training opportunities by 2023.”

The initiative includes the creation of educational institutes, a museum with the remnants of Al-Nouri mosque — destroyed by Daesh in 2017 — among other restorations of monumental landmarks, all of which will contribute toward the increase in tourism and economic recovery, according to Al-Kaabi.

Ernesto Ottone, assistant general director of UNESCO, said that the second phase of the initiative provides more than 2,800 job opportunities for Iraqi women and men.

“Young Iraqis have many talents and are really willing to grab all the opportunities,” Olivier Poquillon, Dominican order representative to UNESCO and the UAE’s restoration project in Mosul, said.

Louis Raphael I Sako, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, called on the people of Iraq to stand as one and work to renew interreligious dialogue.

The Iraqi culture minister announced the completion of an official booklet that informs and acknowledges people’s different religions — the completion of which came with the help and support of Sayyed Jawad Al-Khoei, Shiite religious leader in Najaf and founder of the Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue.

“We must also play our role to shape the family home, criminalize offensive speech and prevent the killing of one another,” Abdul Wahab Taha Al-Sammerai, imam of Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad, said.

“And we must be unified in legislating these issues. Only then will we reach a civil state in which everyone is equal.”

All panelists expressed their joy at the pending visit of the grand imam of Al-Azhar to Iraq to build on Pope Francis’ mission of human fraternity.


Tunisian president says in contact with ‘friendly countries’ to cut deficit

Tunisian president says in contact with ‘friendly countries’ to cut deficit
Updated 27 min 1 sec ago

Tunisian president says in contact with ‘friendly countries’ to cut deficit

Tunisian president says in contact with ‘friendly countries’ to cut deficit

TUNIS: Tunisia’s President Kais Saied said in a video published by his office on Sunday that there were contacts with “friendly countries” to cut the country’s financial deficit, without giving details.
Tunisia’s fiscal deficit and public debt both grew sharply last year as a result of the pandemic and the government has been in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan deal. 


Yemeni minister slams Houthi militias’ recruitment of child soldiers

Yemeni minister slams Houthi militias’ recruitment of child soldiers
Updated 21 min 44 sec ago

Yemeni minister slams Houthi militias’ recruitment of child soldiers

Yemeni minister slams Houthi militias’ recruitment of child soldiers
  • In a tweet on Sunday, Yemen's Information Minister slammed the continued militarization of children and warned of the dangerous consequences for future generations

DUBAI: Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani has condemned the use of thousands of child soldiers by Iran-backed Houthi militias.

In a tweet on Sunday, he slammed the continued militarization of children and warned of the dangerous consequences for future generations.

Al-Eryani said the Houthis were “depriving children in their areas of control of their right to education, play, and normal life while using them as fuel for their battles to serve the ambitions of Iran.”

 

 

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and the SAM for Rights and Liberties organizations said in a recent report that the Houthis had forcibly recruited 10,300 children in Yemen since 2014 and called for urgent action to address the issue.

The report, titled “Militarizing Childhood,” highlighted the Houthis’ use of schools and educational facilities to recruit children.


Jordanian passenger jet forced into emergency landing

Jordanian passenger jet forced into emergency landing
Updated 02 August 2021

Jordanian passenger jet forced into emergency landing

Jordanian passenger jet forced into emergency landing
  • The airline is currently working with the concerned authorities to determine the reason behind the error, local media said

DUBAI: Royal Jordanian Airlines announced that its flight RJ 508 from Cairo to Amman was forced Monday into an emergency landing at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport 10 minutes before the scheduled landing time.

The airline said in a statement that it successfully completed the landing of the jet on the main runway, and all 133 passengers and six crew members of the flight were evacuated and transferred to the airport.

The airline is currently working with the concerned authorities to determine the reason behind the error, local media said. 

 


UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17

UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17
Updated 02 August 2021

UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17

UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17
  • The Gulf state, which has among the world’s highest immunization rates, was already providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will start providing China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17, the UAE government said on Twitter on Monday.
It cited the health ministry as saying the decision comes after clinical trials and extensive evaluations, without providing any details. Authorities said in June the trial would monitor the immune response of 900 children.
The Gulf state, which has among the world’s highest immunization rates, was already providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15.
The health ministry said on Sunday that 78.95 percent of the UAE population of roughly 9 million had received one vaccine dose while 70.57 percent had been fully vaccinated.
The UAE, the region’s tourism and trade hub, registered 1,519 new coronavirus infections on Sunday to take its total to 682,377 cases and 1,951 deaths. It does not provide a breakdown for each of its seven emirates.
It led Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine produced by China’s state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and has started manufacturing it under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42.


Lebanon implements COVID-19 health pass

Lebanon implements COVID-19 health pass
Updated 8 min 58 sec ago

Lebanon implements COVID-19 health pass

Lebanon implements COVID-19 health pass
  • The new rules go into effect Monday, at the peak of Lebanon’s summer tourist season while daily infections hover near the 1,000 mark

DUBAI: Lebanon will implement entry restrictions starting this week to tourist establishments such as beaches, bars and restaurants in a bid to curb a spike in COVID-19 infections. 

Anyone aged 16 and older must show a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, a recent negative coronavirus test or a document proving a previous infection to gain entry, the health ministry said last week. 

The ministry added that workers at those sites who have not received the vaccine will have to perform a PCR test every 72 hours.

The new rules go into effect Monday, at the peak of Lebanon’s summer tourist season while daily infections hover near the 1,000 mark.