UNESCO head appeals for tolerance in Iraq after deadly mosque attack

Voicing “grave concern” over escalating violence in Iraq, especially the mounting loss of innocent lives and attacks on places of worship, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today called on community leaders to promote tolerance and pursue dialogue.“These attacks are particularly heinous,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement citing the recent attack on the Shia Mosque of Buratha in Baghdad in which nearly 100 people were killed and some 160 others injured in a suicide bombing last Friday.“These acts of violence levy a heavy human toll and are designed to leave durable scars in relations between communities on whose cooperation the future of Iraq largely depends,” he added. Just one week ago Mr. Matsuura called for international solidarity and mobilization in favour of education and educators in the violence-torn country, where between 170 and 180 academics have been killed since the United States-led invasion of 2003 and thousands more driven into exile.

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