Niassa Halimat peace initiative: in defiance of social and religious barriers, a group of Muslim women renovates church in Baqubah, Iraq

BAQUBAH, Iraq – On this special day for all mothers and women, we would like to take you back to a special women’s peace initiative in Baqubah, Diyala Governate. In an unprecedented event for Iraq, a group of women’s volunteers launched an initiative for peace and to raise the status of women in Iraq. In 2018-2019, the group of voluntary women called “Niassa Halimat” or “Dreaming Women Initiative” renovated the only church in Baqubah and helped the parish hold its first Holy Liturgy after the church was closed in 2006.

The group of women faced social opposition and had to break through religious barriers because it is unusual for Muslims, let alone Muslim women, to enter churches. However, the women of Niassa Halimat broke through the social barriers, completed the renovation of the church and oversaw the reopening of the Church.

Prevailing values and traditions in Iraqi society expose women to violence. The volunteers aim to empower women to become independent and improve the position and treatment of women in Iraq as they are very vulnerable to injustice and persecution, in all its forms. Niassa Halimat was supported in the project by the UN International Organization for Migration in Iraq as shown in the IOM Facebook video.