Mosul: reconstruction begins of the al-Nuri mosque, destroyed by ISIS

Yesterday the ceremony of laying the first stone, presided over by the leader of the Sunni Muslim Endowment movement. UN and EU delegates and citizens present. UNESCO representative: "A journey of physical reconstruction" begins. Planned open spaces, a garden, a memorial and a museum.

Mosul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of Iraqi religious leaders presided over the inauguration of the reconstruction of the great mosque of al-Nuri, in Mosul, a symbol of the jihadist devastation when the city was in the hands of the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis).

The ceremony was held yesterday in the presence of numerous civil and religious institutions and ordinary citizens and once again testifies the attempts to recover the metropolis of northern Iraq, after the dark years of caliphate occupation.

The mosque, whose foundations date back to the 12th century, had become famous because inside it the leader of Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State], Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had proclaimed the caliphate on June 29, 2014. Last year the jihadist group destroyed it with explosives charges, along with the minaret, during the siege of the city of government troops.

Presiding over the ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the United Nations and the European Union, was the head of the Sunni Muslim Movement, Abdul Latif al-Humayim. At his side the director of the Iraqi office at UNESCO Louise Haxthausen, who defined a moment of "horror and despair" the devastation of the place of worship. "Today - he added - with the laying of the first stone [...] we begin a journey of physical reconstruction".

To complete the project, it will take at least five years and thousands of new employees, especially young people from the University of Mosul and Baghdad. The United Arab Emirates (Eau) contributed to the work to the tune of about 50 million dollars. The first year will be dedicated to the restoration of the area in which the site is located. And the next four to the reconstruction of the minaret, the prayer room and the adjacent buildings. At the same time, the open spaces and the gardens that were part of the complex will also be restored, together with a memorial and a museum.