ASIA/IRAQ - As a sign of "solidarity with Christians", even December 24 will be a public holiday in Kirkuk

Kirkuk - This year, the birth of the Lord for the Churches that follow the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, a public holiday for Muslims. This is why, as a sign of solidarity of the institutions and the whole society towards Christians, the governor of the province of Kirkuk, Kurdish Necmettin Karim, said that Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve, will be a public holiday, and all public institutions of the province, including schools - reads the statement released by the office of the governor and sent to Agenzia Fides - will observe a day of rest.
Therefore - stressed the governor - also Muslims will show their proximity to their fellow Christians. The decision was announced on Monday, December 14, during the meeting of the municipal Council in Kirkuk.
During the meeting – report official sources of the Chaldean Patriarchate, consulted by Agenzia Fides - the governor also launched the alarm regarding the activities of "criminal groups seeking to spread terror".
Kirkuk is less than 180 kilometers from Mosul, and since June 2014 has resisted the offensive and attempts of the expansion of jihadists of the Islamic State primarily because of the protection provided to the city by Peshmerga Kurdish militia. The jihadist forces, however, occupy a part of the province of Kirkuk, and are just a few dozen miles from the capital. The situation on the territory is made even more complicated by the presence of troops in the region sent from Turkey on the grounds of having to protect the local Turkoman minority.