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New Life Is Breathed in Mosul

New Life Is Breathed in Mosul

Sunday, 7 March, 2021 - 07:00
Noura Al Kaabi
Noura Al Kaabi is the Minister of Culture and Youth of the United Arab Emirates.

After the fall of the terrorist ISIS state in Iraq’s Mosul in July 2019, stories of pain began to emerge from under the ashes of war. The stories showed the world the ugliness of hatred practiced by the organization against man and the city, against mosque and church, Muslim and Christian and humanity and life.

Traumatized by terrorism, hope soon shined from Abu Dhabi to restore light in the city through the Revive the Spirit of Mosul UNESCO initiative. The United Arab Emirates was among the first and fastest to take the initiative to rebuild the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its iconic Al-Hadba minaret in 2018. And since the principles of humanity are indivisible and immune to discrimination, the UAE expanded the project after Pope Francis’ historic visit to the country in 2019. The initiative was expanded to include the renovation and reconstruction of the Al-Tahera and Al-Saa Churches in a message of hope and tolerance aimed at restoring the historic standing and human heritage of Mosul that had never discriminated between people based on religion, race or color.

Today Mosul and the whole of Iraq are celebrating Pope Francis’ visit in a hope that it would give a new push for human fraternity that was launched during his visit to Abu Dhabi. The initiative bolsters social cohesion and human harmony and consolidates moderation, tolerance and coexistence, which is the only way to develop and elevate humanity.

The pope is carrying out his visit to Mosul under the slogan, “We are all brothers”, in an embodiment of the Document of Human Fraternity that he signed with Sheikh al-Azhar Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The document was a message to the world that dialogue between religions and tolerance, social and cultural diversity were our choice and the choice for humanity. It was the strong human response to the ideology of darkness and terrorism that fuels conflicts between man.

A new life was breathed into Mosul, one that is in sharp contrast to the dark spirit that ISIS tried to implant in the youths of the city. Today, we bear witness to how Christians are helping rebuild the al-Nuri mosque and its minaret and how Muslims are renovating and rebuilding the Al-Tahera and Al-Saa churches. They are discovering, without discrimination, their prestigious Mosul heritage that was formed through the values of solidarity between cultures and religions and friendship between peoples of different sects. Together they shaped the civilized image that embodies the spirit of “Human Fraternity” and the noble goal that was spelled out in the Abu Dhabi document.

The UAE-UNESCO partnership in this significant project was aimed at reviving three neighborhoods in Mosul. Combined, these neighborhoods form a heritage of humanity and civilization and witness to the grandeur of man. At the same time, the project created job opportunities for the people of Mosul and helped in sustainable development through the formation of an attractive environment for tourists from different parts of the world, thereby becoming a source of income for the city.

The support for the Revive the Spirit of Mosul initiative is an extension of the UAE’s keenness to preserve human heritage away from religious, sectarian or geographic considerations. For dozens of years, the UAE has contributed in several renovations of global heritage sites, such as the Dome of Rock at the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, Omar bin al-Khattab Mosque and Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan or former Imperial Theater at Chateau de Fontainebleau in Paris, Museum of Islamic Art Cairo, Library of Alexandria, Marib dam in Yemen, Macmillan Memorial Library in Nairobi, and Nuzul Al Salam in Bahrain, among several others.

We welcome Pope Francis in our Arab region and we will continue to bolster and consolidate the message of “Human Fraternity”, which is one of harmony and love that we hope would prevail in the world, so that man can help fellow man and so that humans can become partners in progress, not conflicts, wars and hatred.

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