This Group Of Muslims Rebuilt A Christian Church Destroyed By ISIS
“Our differences are our strength,” said the volunteers.
This story is part of Nudge for Change’s “Everyday Wins Against Trump” series, which documents examples of love trumping hate, small actions making a big difference, and victories for the #ResistTrump movement in the U.S. and around the world (because we could all use a little extra hope and inspiration right now).
A group of Muslim youth in Mosul, Iraq recently volunteered to help rebuild the Catholic Mar Georges Monastery, which had been heavily damaged by gunfire during the city’s long occupation by ISIS.
The group of volunteers said that they wanted to show the world that Iraq welcomes both Christians and Muslims. Their efforts were documented in a post alongside a series of photos (included below) in the Facebook group This is Christian Iraq.
According to the post, the Muslim volunteers were responding to the spread of false rumors claiming a Christian family was being terrorized by Muslims in Mosul’s Al Arabi neighborhood. They wanted to help heal the rift between the communities, help ease the minority local Christian community’s fears, and send the message that “Mosul is yours as it’s ours,” and that “Our differences are our strength.”
The Catholic monastery, which is also referred to as St. George, was originally built in the tenth century. It was severely damaged by bullets and blasts during the nearly two-year long occupation of the northern Iraqi city by ISIS.
Iraq has a very small Christian community, but it is one of the oldest in the world. Christian books, history, and churches throughout the country have been sought out and destroyed by the terrorist group over the course of the last decade. The actions have been condemned by Muslim groups throughout the country.
Last month, Muslims also collaborated with Iraqi Christians to erect a large cross in another part of Mosul that had been liberated from ISIS.
On Sunday, Iraqi forces began their final push to completely liberate the city.
The touching Facebook post about the interfaith efforts to restore Mar George was first shared on May 27, just two days after a third U.S. appeals court refused to reinstate Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
The court’s decision, written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, stated that Trump’s order is full of “vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
Diverse religious groups in the U.S. have also risen to the occasion to prove that love can overcome the sort of “intolerance, animus, and discrimination” espoused by the Trump administration: In January, after a fire destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas, donations to rebuild the mosque exceeded $1 million. Four local Christian churches and one Jewish synagogue also invited Muslims to hold worship services in their buildings until the mosque could be rebuilt.
One of the donors who contributed to those efforts described himself as an Atheist Jew on the fundraising page. “But I send you my very best wishes and solidarity,” he wrote, “From one human to another, here’s to hope and kindness.”
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