Tuesday, March 01, 2005

An Interview With an Iraqi Friar

Sheila Provencher interviewed fr. Yousif Thomas, an Iraqi friar, while in Baghdad. The interview was published in America magazine and Electronic Iraq. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Yousif Thomas Mirkis, O.P., is an Iraqi Roman Catholic priest. He recently welcomed me to his community home in Baghdad, the convent of the Dominican friars. In the courtyard, he pointed to the ground. "Look," he said. A cross lay molded into the tiles. "This is to remind us that the cross is down here, with us. The cross is in the mud." At 55, Father Yousif has spent most of his life working "in the mud," striving to heal his society's wounds and build healthy communities. He teaches theology and ethnology at Babel College in Baghdad and is the chief editor of Christian Thought, Iraq's oldest theological journal. Amid the current strife, Father Yousif works to foster peace through understanding. He views education as the best way to respond to the poverty, illiteracy and subsequent violence created by years of war and sanctions. His current projects include a popular university for the working poor, an online distance-learning program for foreign languages and numerous dialogues with Muslim and Christian leaders.

"I have no fear," he says. "I am prudent, I try to seek wisdom. But I am not afraid." The following interview was conducted in Baghdad last November.


I hope you enjoy reading the interview.

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