The ousting of ISIS from provinces where the terrorist group held prominent strongholds, such as Anbar and Nineveh, has motivated the population of these districts to take the initiative and propagate ideas linked to coexistence and peace, rather than the violence and sectarianism these areas experienced over the past few years. Workshops have been organised in the city of Fallujah, in Anbar Province, primarily for this purpose.
The city of Fallujah was largely liberated of ISIS elements in mid-2016. However, remnants of the terrorist group remained and they conducted attacks on the city from time to time. The battle to liberate Fallujah caused extensive damage and it proved to be difficult to rebuild the city at a quick pace. At the time, the central government was still concentrating on liberating the other areas of Iraq and so could not subsidise projects in Fallujah.
Nevertheless, a substantial amount of time has passed since the stabilisation of the security situation in the city and workshops such as these have come at the right moment so that communities may tackle issues related to inter-communal tensions and the fostering of peaceful relations within society.
The participants of these workshops themselves recognise the need for such forums that provide a platform for local people to discuss issues that are troubling the region in the post-ISIS era. Participants note the desire to develop a society that does not allow for the proliferation of extremist and totalitarian ideas, which may be appealing to marginalised and disenfranchised youth.
The reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Fallujah has been in full swing for a number of months now. Various campaigns have been launched to restore the urban landscape, revive cultural life, rebuild infrastructure, and revitalise the educational sector of Fallujah.
Very recently, the people of Fallujah celebrated Iraqi Army Day, commemorating the sacrifices made by the military forces to oust ISIS from the city, paving the way for Fallujah to restore itself.