By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraqi military leaders expect victory this week against the Islamic State (IS) in the battle for Mosul, and the government has unveiled a $100 billion, 10-year reconstruction plan for the country that, despite some challenges, is slated to begin next year.
Mosul will be particularly important to rebuild because of the number of citizens who were forced from their homes, the extent of the damage there and the symbolic significance of the city, which IS considered its Iraqi capital. In addition to repairing the infrastructure, Iraqi officials acknowledge the importance of overcoming the influence IS established on the population, especially young people, during its three-year reign of terror there.
Hossam al-Ayyar, a member of the Ninevah Provincial Council, told Al-Monitor the plan will aim to eliminate “ideological extremism from the culture of the people of Mosul, who have been living for three years with IS’ inflammatory rhetoric, and [prevent] the emergence of a new generation … inspired by the culture of hate.”
Ayyar added, “The plan includes cultural and religious programs adopted by mosques, schools and churches to consolidate the values of coexistence and moderation, promote shared living and the culture of peace and freedom of belief and the respect of the rights of others.”
Ninevah council member Abdul Rahman al-Kaa told Al-Monitor, “This step is imperative to bring peace to the people of the city, which includes Sunni Arabs, representing the majority, and the Kurds, Shiite Arabs, who represent a small minority, as well as the Turkmens and the Christians. This could be done through the spread of a culture of tolerance and acceptance of others, distancing mosques from extremism, organizing periodic field visits [between] the people of Mosul [and] Baghdad and the areas in the center and the south, in order to achieve social integration. This is not to mention the need to involve all components in cultural, social and religious events.”