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Christian school in Basra welcomes Muslim students

For the first time since the 1970s, an interfaith Christian school is set to open in the conservative Iraqi city of Basra.
Iraqi students sit in class at their elementary school in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on April 6, 2008. Fierce clashes between Shiite gunmen and US forces in the Iraqi capital's Sadr City district killed at least 20 people today, amid calls from Iraqi leaders for all militias to be disbanded. Shiite fighters, mostly from Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, have been clashing with security forces since March 25 after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militiamen in the southern city of Basra. A
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BASRA, Iraq — The Iraqi Ministry of Education issued a permit Nov. 4 for the establishment of a private, mixed Christian school, which will teach Christians, Muslims and students from other communities. After spending a year and a half working on the official procedures, the school will officially open next year as the first interfaith school in Iraq since the 1970s.

Archbishop Habib Jajou, the Chaldean archbishop of Basra and southern Iraq, told Al-Monitor about the project. “We have successfully experimented with Christian nurseries and kindergartens," he said, "and now we want to open a primary school as an expansion to offer successful education to both Muslim and Christian citizens, especially after we saw how many Muslim families want to register their children in Christian educational institutions. Over the past 20 years, thousands of Muslim children have been admitted into Christian kindergartens.”

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