Easter represents a time of excitement, and anticipated joy in the Christian community, as we come together to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
This Easter was extra special for Christians in Iraq, as they were allowed to celebrate Easter at home for the first time in a long time.
Hamdaniya, which is in the Nineveh plains near Mosul city in northern Iraq, saw its first Easter celebration this past weekend for the first time since the Islamic State was defeated.
Ever since ISIS took over the northern city, Christians were barred from practicing their faith, much less celebrating the holiday.
This Easter was the first time that many Christians in Iraq were able to worship, pray and gather together to celebrate the holy day.
After ISIS’s violent invasion of their home, many Christians fled, seeking refuge elsewhere. Around 55,000 people fled Hamdaniya alone to escape ISIS’s evil reign. For those still in Mosul, ISIS destroyed their churches and buildings, looting all of their possessions.
Patriarch Louis Sako stated there were no Christians living in Mosul in 2014 after ISIS took over.
After Mosul was recaptured in 2017, and ISIS defeated, people began to return to their homes. They returned to destroyed churches, burned down homes, and their possessions looted and stolen. Some families are unable to return to their homes as they are completely destroyed.
Many Iraqi’s feel that the government has abandoned them in the time that they need their help the most. The Iraqi government is requisitioning 100 billion from the international community in order to rebuild the areas destroyed and devastated by ISIS.
Although there is a long road of reconstruction ahead for Iraqi citizens, they were happy to be free to celebrate Easter once again.
(H/T Al Jazeera)