A Muslim businessman in Iraq has put up the tallest Christmas tree in the cityin a show of solidarity with Christians.
Yassir Saad told the Associated Press this week that he wanted to come together with “our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul.”
The tree is 85 feet tall and 33 feet wide and stands in Baghdad’s al-Zawra Park. It costs about $24,000, Saad said.
Islamic radicals routinely target Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.
In many places, Islamic State militants have taken to burning thousands of homesbefore surrendering the occupied territories, leaving no place for the displaced Christians to return to.
"Everything is gone. We have nothing left. Why should we stay in this country any longer?" one unnamed man told ChristianityToday.com. "We have lost all hope. Is there any country willing to take us in? Please, tell me which one; we will be on the next plane out of here."
Said Father Thabet, a priest from Karamles: "The effect is a mounting feeling of hopelessness among the Christians when they discover the damage. They will really need time to recover from this news, to adjust to the new perspective of living in displacement longer than they might have expected."
Publication date: December 16, 2016