As a show of solidarity and peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians, a Muslim Iraqi businessman decided to build a 30-meter/ 85-foot tall Christmas tree, to celebrate the holidays in a country torn apart by war.
The businessman, Yassi Saad, said he did so in order to join “our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations,” and help “Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul.”
The tree was erected in the center of an amusement park in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and the cost was estimated at around $24,000. Moreover, its construction was also undertaken by soldiers from the Iraqi Army who volunteered for the duty.
Baghdad’s Zeytoon St. was also decorated as part of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, along with other parts of the city.
Iraq’s Christians have been heavily persecuted by ISIS, and their population began dwindling since the U.S occupation of Iraq in 2003, as takfiri militants targeted them on several occasions. Thousands of them fled Mosul when ISIS gained large amounts of land in its sweeping offensive in the summer of 2014.
It should be noted that the Iraqi Army, back in October, also liberated a number of Christian towns as it was clearing Mosul's entrances from ISIS fighters. Iraqi soldiers were then seen hard at work in the village of Karamless trying to erect a cross back on top of the town church after ISIS had destroyed it.