A giant Christmas tree is on display in Baghdad to show solidarity with Christians.
The tallest Christmas tree in Iraq’s capital happens to be erected as a tribute to the suffering Christian population of the country. However, the tree, which stands in Baghdad, has not been erected by Iraq’s Christians. Instead, it was a Muslim businessman who came up with the idea, hoping to show solidarity with the persecuted community.
The businessman, Yassir Saad, said his idea to erect the tree in Baghdad was to assure the country’s Christians that they are with them in their time of difficulty. He revealed that the tree was his attempt at trying to help those were wounded in the attacks in Mosul and to help them come out of the anguish that they are going through.
This show of solidarity comes at a very crucial time. The Christian population of Iraq is declining at an alarming rate. A number of Christians have fled Iraq after the Islamists launched a massive and brutal persecution against them and other minorities. The decline in Christian numbers began after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The bold move by the businessman, which costs an estimated $24,000, sends a very warm message to the ravaged community. Standing tall at 85 feet and with a diameter of 33 feet, the Christmas tree is located at an important area in Baghdad, the al-Zawra Park.
— Zuhair Hussainزهير (@zuhair47) December 15, 2016
This is not the first time, however, that Iraqi Muslims have shown their support towards Christians. A number of Iraqi Muslims have staged protests against ISIS and have openly declared their support for the community. There have even been cases where Muslims have lost their lives for supporting Christians. Just as in Iraq, Muslims in Egypt too showed their support for Christians when persecution had actively broken out. Muslims were seen forming human chains around churches during religious services.
Although much of the fighting has now cooled down in Iraq and some Christians have returned to their villages, the community is still reeling under the after-effects, especially because their homes and places of worship have been destroyed or ransacked completely. This gesture by Saad can really prove to be a morale-booster for the community as they gear up to celebrate the most important festival of their faith.