This year, civil activists from numerous faith and ethnic groups in Nineveh have turned out to celebrate Eid with their Muslim neighbours, hoping to foster improved inter-community relations and combat extremism.
Earlier this week Muslims across the globe celebrated Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Iraq, religious and ethnic groups came together during this celebration to observe this occasion together and show that despite all of the challenges they faced under ISIS’ rule, they continue to remain united.
Yazidi, Christian and Shabak activists living in the Nineveh Plains, northern Iraq, came to the city of Mosul to pass out flowers and celebrate with the Muslim community as a sign of religious coexistence and rejection of division and schisms.
“All the communities have come together to mark Eid al-Fitr,” said a female Yazidi activist to joined the celebrations in Mosul. “We want to spread the message that there is no difference between all our religions.”
Under ISIS’ rule, the militant group attempted to create divisions amongst different religions by enforcing their strict interpretation of Islam, which claimed that all other faiths are unbelievers. According to locals in Mosul, the militant group attempted to pit long-time neighbours against each other in an attempt to spread their hateful ideology.
Now, however, the people of Nineveh have rejected this ideology, choosing unity and love over hate.
“This Eid is not only for the Muslims but for all Iraqis and all communities,” said a man from Mosul.
A recent story uncovered following ISIS’ defeat has been that of two Muslims who lived in the city under ISIS rule who attempted to protect the heritage of their Christian neighbours from being destroyed, despite knowing that the punishment, if caught, would be severe.
As the residents celebrated Eid in Mosul, they stressed the need for government support to rebuild their cities that have been devastated by the war, which ended in December 2017.
Due to the damage that was inflicted on liberated cities, millions of displaced Iraqis are still unable to return to their homes, to resume normalcy throughout the country.
“I wish the government would help us, the orphans, and the displaced,” said a child from Mosul.
As citizens celebrated this holiday, they pray that their situation continues to improve and that the local and central governments will make further efforts to alleviate their difficulties.