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ICC Note:

For the first time in three years, Christmas has returned to Mosul. The city was captured by ISIS in the summer of 2014, and immediately imposed a harsh regime of Islamic extremism on the city.  Most Christians fled, with only the old and disabled staying behind hoping to find some mercy that was never given. Christmas was outlawed. Mosul was liberated from ISIS earlier this year, and many former residents have returned. Christians, however, have been slow to return to the city. It is estimated that only 60 families have returned. Even so, the city is today celebrating Christmas for the first time since its capture by ISIS.

 

12/25/17 Iraq (The Medialine) – Just one year ago, Mosul was the seat of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in Iraq.

With 1.8 million people under siege, December was a time when residents used old furniture and cut down trees to keep warm and to cook whatever paltry edibles could be scrounged up—including roadside weeds and stray cats.

Today, while Christians throughout the region enter the holiday generally apprehensive about their place in a turbulent Middle East, the diverse Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac communities in northern Iraq have something special to celebrate.

Christmas trees have appeared in market places and Santa Clause has been sighted on the streets of Mosul.

“It might seem strange to hear that a female Santa Clause has appeared in this city,” said seventeen-year old Ghenwa Ghassan. “But I wanted to give the people here a simple gift—to bring Christmas to a place where it had been banished.”

Dressed as Santa, Ghassan distributed toys and school supplies to Christian and Muslim children in the rubble strewn streets of Old Mosul.

After three years of domination by ISIS, which included killing, abduction, and banishment of Christians from Mosul and the surrounding area, the return of Christmas marks a moment of hope that more people may be able to return along with the holiday.

(Full Story)

 

For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].