Residents of Mosul are enjoying their first Ramadan after ISIS' defeat. The residents are trying to bring back their cities cultural heritage which includes the distribution of food to poor families.
This year is the first year the people of Mosul have been able to observe the month of Ramadan following the city’s liberation from ISIS militants. For three years, the people of Mosul lived under oppression and tyranny and were robbed of their freedoms. ISIS’ draconian policies and rules sucked the life out of Ramadan, which before ISIS was the month that brought families and communities closer together.
Under ISIS, gatherings were strictly prohibited and many of the traditions of Ramadan were banned. Anyone who dared to defy ISIS’ laws was punished severely with lashings and even in some cases execution. The brutal techniques used by the group to instil fear in the hearts of ordinary Iraqis has become synonymous with the group.
One of the most famous traditions in Iraq and in Mosul in particular is the the tradition of the messaharati (those who wake people to eat before the beginning of the day). These people were banned under ISIS as the group viewed the tradition as heretical.
Rayyan and Ali, two messaharatis say that under ISIS waking people with drums was considered heretical. “However, after the liberation of the city, we wanted to return this tradition to Mosul and bring back the smile. Despite the development of technology and modernity, such things bring smiles [to the families] and we consider them as an classical heritage,” said Rayyan.
Since the defeat of ISIS and the liberation of the city, Iraqis have been trying to revive the most famous and popular Ramadan traditions and customs. During the reign of ISIS, even charities were forbidden from helping the needy. The ‘volunteer with us’ charity has started distributing about 750 food baskets and plans to provide more throughout the month of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan has highlighted the generosity of Iraqis, especially Moslawis who have suffered immensely under ISIS.