It’s been a few weeks since the pope’s trip to Iraq and his historic visit to Mosul. And the impact of his visit is already visible in this city.
“It’s the only time, the first time since the destruction of Mosul, that despite the destruction of Mosul, I saw Mosul as the most beautiful city in the world. I saw it through the eyes of the Santo Padre.”
Muslim historian Omar Mohammed lived in Mosul when the city was under ISIS occupation, from 2014 to 2017.
In those years he created an anonymous blog to show the atrocities carried out by the terrorists.
“What comes to mind is the question he asked, ‘Who sold the weapons to the destroyers, and who is selling the weapons to the destroyers?’ This is a question that has been asked by Pope Francis on behalf of the people of Mosul.”
For Omar Mohammed, the pope is the person who has best understood this city’s suffering.
And it’s because the pope didn’t focus on the ruins but on how Muslims and Christians are working together to rebuild.
“I found out that the only way to live in peace with yourself is to tolerate the other. And to try to find reasons why they do something. And that hate not only destroys things around you; it destroys you.”
As a concrete initiative, Omar Mohammed proposes reinventing education programs, to eliminate everything that could foster suspicion and hatred toward people of other religions or with different opinions
It’s an initiative already underway thanks to Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Christians working together to rebuild the city’s mosques and churches.