UAE Commits to Rebuilding Two Churches in Iraq
The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to help rebuild two Christian churches destroyed by ISIS terrorists. The UAE has expanded its collaboration with a United Nations initiative called Revive the Spirit of Mosul, an international effort to reconstruct Iraq’s once second-largest city. According to a press release, a new agreement reiterating UAE’s support for the initiative was signed at the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization headquarters in Paris. The agreement serves as an extension to an agreement signed by UAE leaders in April 2018, in which the UAE government committed $50.4 million to help rebuild the city’s historic Grand Al-Nouri Mosque.
The new agreement commits UAE to restore the historic Al-TahiraSyriac-Catholic Church and Al-Saa’a Church in Mosul. According to Gulf News, UNESCO General Director Audrey Azoulay said the new restoration projects aim to “reclaim the true spirit” of Mosul as being a “peaceful coexistence between different religious and ethnic groups.”
UAE’s vow to help rebuild Christian churches in Mosul comes as the Persian Gulf country has marked 2019 as its “Year of Tolerance.” UAE has been one of the most devoted Middle Eastern nations when it comes to promoting the idea of religious freedom and tolerance in the last few years. Earlier this year, UAE hosted a regional religious freedom summit and hosted the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. Most recently, plans were announced for the construction of the Abrahamic Family House an interfaith complex that will house a church, synagogue, and mosque Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi.