IRAQ: Chaldean Catholic church of Um al-Mauna renovated in Mosul; Nineveh Council pledges to return displaced Christians to Mosul Governorate

MOSUL, NINEVEH, Iraq —  The Chaldean Catholic of Um al-Mauna — “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” in the Dawasah neighborhood in Mosul Governorate in Iraq was completely renovated, after the Islamic State turned it into an ISIS headquarters during its control.

Approximately 300 people participated in the reopening of the 80-year-old church.

Chaldean Patriarch Rafael Sako stated that they are proud of the return of the church as a place of worship and a spiritual and educational center.

On the outside wall of Um al-Mauna the ISIS members wrote “no entry, by order of the Islamic State Hesba Division (the religious police)”, tasked with imposing harsh rules that included ordering Christians to convert to Islam, pay a special tax, leave or face execution.

While attending the reopening ceremony, the head of the Nineveh Governorate Council Ahmed al-Hassoud stated that they will work on the return of all Christians to Mosul, and provide support for the reconstruction of churches.

Al-Hassoud declared that Mosul is enriched by its diversity, stressing the need to achieve communication and coexistence between different communities in the city, which is a positive step towards building a diverse and interconnected society.

The places of worship and heritage in Mosul have not been spared from ISIS destruction.