The rebuilding of a Syriac Catholic church in Mosul destroyed by ISIS will begin soon, the United Nations heritage agency, UNESCO, announced last week. Source: CNA.
Al-Tahera Church, in the old city of Mosul, was severely damaged after ISIS invaded the city in June 2014.
Among numerous documented murders and other atrocities committed against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the area, ISIS destroyed at least 28 significant religious sites in the city, one of which was the church.
The church suffered extensive damage to its arcade and outer wall which must be rebuilt, as well as its remaining ceiling which will be demolished and reconstructed. Landmines inside the church will also have to be removed.
UNESCO announced in October that it was partnering with the United Arab Emirates to rebuild the church which was built in 1862. The partnership said that another church in the city, the Dominican Al-Saa'a Church which dates to 1873, will also be rebuilt.
The reconstruction will be part of the agency-led “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative. UNESCO says the reconstruction project will create jobs and provide further education, training, and experience for local young professionals and craftsmen.
The second-largest city in Iraq, Mosul is the seat of two bishoprics in Iraq for the Chaldean Catholic and Syriac Catholic Churches. Its Christian population fell from 35,000 in 2003 to only around 15,000 at the time of the ISIS invasion in 2014.
After the ISIS takeover of Mosul and the surrounding region, there were numerous reports of militants forcing Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed.
The Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch estimated that ISIS killed 500 people in its conquest; thousands were killed during the ISIS occupation and nearly one million people fled the city.
ISIS was driven out of Mosul in 2017, but conditions in the city and in much of Northern Iraq remain tenuous for Christians.