ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Mahmoud
A women's movement has organized an interfaith conference on the role and value of women. A poll reveals that 88% of women in the city have experienced some form of violence. A plan to ensure greater social and religious commitment. The archbishop of Kirkuk stresses the importance of women in Christian history: "equal value to the role of males and females."
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - The Free Union of Women (Christian) of Bethnahrain (Mesopotamia) in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, today held a conference focusing on "violence against women" in the great hall of the Chaldean cathedral. The event was attended by more than 100 Christian and Muslim women, along with personalities from the government and civil society. Ahead of the event, the Union carried out a survey on a thousand women in the city of Kirkuk to understand the incidence of phenomena of violence suffered in the past. The vast majority of respondents (88% of the total) said they had suffered some form - more or less serious - of violence and the tendency of continuous growth clearly emerged.
The event organized by the women's movement was also attended by the archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, who presented the Christian point of view regarding women. "Christianity - said the prelate - never believes that women are inferior to men or have an element of secondary importance." In the hierarchy, according to the theological concept of creation, women have an equal importance in terms of human value and capability. " Archbishop Sako mentioned the Bible, where it is written that God created man in His own image and likeness "(Gen 1 - 27).
Men and women were created in the image of God, continued the archbishop of Kirkuk, and the same concept is echoed in the New Testament, where "the new creation of glory to glory continues " (1 Corinthians 11-11). Although able to create higher or lower beings, in the Christian vision, God created humankind - male and female - and they have "equal value and equal dignity in all. They are complementary partners in creation and salvation brought by Christ ... One needs the other, they complement and influence each other. "
In the Gospel no difference is made between men and women, explained Msgr. Sako, because both are derived "from the essence of God the Father." In God there is no distinction of sex, nor in favour of women, nor for the benefit of man. Therefore, the alleged inferiority of women "is not from God the Creator" and also Christ with Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman and the adulteress had a sense of compassion, to the point of exclaiming, "Who among you is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8: 3-6). Jesus Christ treated women as "a human being capable of love, understanding, working and thinking, of collaborating, sharing and communicating. His relationship - says the archbishop - is an example for us all. "
In his intervention, the prelate recalled Pope John Paul II, who - in the Apostolic Exhortation "A New Hope for Lebanon" in 1997 - clearly states that women deserve special attention to ensure their rights in various sectors of social and national life and that the Church, in its anthropological doctrine and education, stresses the equality of rights between men and women, because "such equality is because every human being is created in the image of God" (76-77).
Thus in light of the Christian vision, women should enjoy equal rights in political, social, economic and educational spheres: they must, reaffirms the prelate, have "equal dignity without discrimination" and he points the finger at "a patriarchal system and erroneous obtuseness of customs and traditions in society ", giving rise to the phenomena of violence against women, because it classifies them as" inferior "and intensifies discrimination and harassment.
At the conclusion of the conference some key points to enhance the work of women were listed. These include the formation of the personality of the woman, both from within and to enhance self- belief and self-confidence. All kind of discrimination must be rejected and the campaign for justice, peace and unity of creation embraced. This requires continuous learning through reading, study and analysis, with conviction and not blind obedience. Finally, the active presence of women, who must have a decision making role at the level of faith, both in the churches and mosques, to promote respect for the divine plan and condemn all violence.