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 Kurdish language should be taught in Iraq's disputed Diyala province to promote better communication: Officials

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Kurdish language should be taught in Iraq's disputed Diyala province to promote better...  13.9.2012 

Diyala provincial council. See Related Links
September 13, 2012

DIYALA, Iraq, — The teaching of Kurdish language in the schools in Diyala province will help a better communication between the people of the province, officials say.

Kurdish is the second widely used language in Iraq and has been recognized by the constitution as an official language alongside Arabic.

The chairwoman of the Education Committee in the Diyala provincial council Batoul Ahmed said her committee calls on the Iraqi Ministry of Education to start incorporating the Kurdish language teaching in school curriculums.

The learning of Kurdish by non-Kurdish people of Diyala and Iraq will help better communication between the citizens, according to her.

Nasreen Bahjat, who is chairwoman of the Women and Children Committee in Diyala Council, believes that the teaching of Kurdish to starting from primary schools has become a necessity not only because it helps improved communication but also because it is as Constitutional right for the Kurds to have their language recognized as an official language in the country.

"Teaching the Kurdish language in schools has become an urgent issue because the Kurds represent the second largest group in Iraq and their language is the second official language according to the Iraqi Constitution," said the Kurdish official.

She said Kurds and Arabs of Diyala, particularly, have “strong relations” which need to be further strengthened through the teaching of Kurdish in the public schools.

Abdul Baqi al-Shummari, an Arab ethnic adviser to the Diyala Governor for Education affairs believes that "Teaching Kurdish is an important thing and encourages social unity between the Iraqi people” and that he is a “strong supporter of the teaching of Kurdish language in schools throughout the country”

"Arabs are facing a lot of difficulties and embarrassment in Kurdistan because they don't speak Kurdish language and we call on the Ministry of Education to speed up teaching it in the whole country." He said.

Diyala province, a restive part of Iraq outside the Kurdish autonomous region of Kurdistan but home to many Kurds. The Diyala district, which includes a string of villages and some of Iraq's oil reserves, is home to about 175,000 Kurds, most of them Shiites.

In June 2006, the local council of Khanaqin proposed that the district be integrated into the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

During the Arabisation policy of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a large number of Kurdish Shiites were displaced by force from Khanaqin. They started returning after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas like Khanaqin.

Kurdistan's government says oil-rich Khanaqin should be part of its semi-autonomous region, which it hopes to expand in a referendum in the future. In the meantime, Khanaqin and other so-called disputed areas remain targets of Sunni Arab insurgents opposed to Kurdish expansion and vowing to hold onto land seized during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's efforts to "Arabize" the region.

By Mahmoud al-Jabbouri - Ak News, and

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