Although Eid al-Adha is primarily celebrated by Muslims, the people of Mosul call on all communities to come together and bring life back to the city. Citizens stress that this Eid is different from the past Eids in Mosul.
Residents in Mosul are celebrating their second Eid al-Adha after the liberation of their city from ISIS in July 2017. Despite the passing of one Eid al-Adha in 2017, residents have stressed that this is the first celebration that they hold while feeling secure in their city. As a result, the sermons and celebrations for this Eid have emphasised the importance of coexistence and forgiveness. At the Bilal al-Habashi Mosque in West Mosul which held the first unified Eid congregation in coordination with residents in the Bablikish area in East Mosul, the Eid sermon encouraged minorities from Mosul to return to their neighborhoods.
“This is the first day for organising this congregation after our liberation from ISIS, and its horrific and harassing actions,” said Sheikh Ziyad al-Mawla, the Imam of the Bilal al-Habashi Mosque in West Mosul. “We are promoting and encouraging peaceful co-existence, which includes respecting others even if they belong to a different religion.”
This comes after a renewed sense of security in Mosul as the Iraqi Security Forces continue to cleanse the city from ISIS sleeper cells. With the return of security, the residents have called upon the Iraqi Government to find solutions for the many problems that they face, such as the absence of services and the reconstruction of homes. They also stressed the need for a rapid formation of the new Iraqi Government, after the Iraqi Supreme Court accepted the final results for the elections.
“The upcoming government must take on the provision of services for these families that have returned, whether they are from the Old City of Mosul, or minorities from the Nineveh Plains and other areas, even those in the districts,” said a young Moslawi citizen.
Since the liberation of Mosul, displaced citizens of Mosul have been gradually returning to their areas, with minorities such as Yazidis and Christians returning at an even smaller rate due to fear of marginalization.
However, the citizens of Mosul are trying to stress that they want their counterparts of different faiths and ethnicities to return to the province of Nineveh.
“[We invite] our Christian and Yazidi brothers and those from all ethnic and religious groups in the Nineveh province, to return to their homes to this unified province that unites all [Iraqi] communities,” said Mahmoud al-Jammas, a Moslawi observer.
Part of the initiatives that have been undertaken to promote ethnoreligious minorities on returning to their homes is the rebuilding of their houses of worship, in addition to holding workshops and festivals which focus on coexistence and celebrating the province’s cultural heritage.
Initiatives, programs, and rhetoric that promotes coexistence are necessary for Iraq, as the country is trying to rebuild destroyed homes, and communities.