ABU DHABI, The project to rebuild the Great Al Nuri Mosque and its "hunchback" leaning minaret in Mosul, Iraq, reflects the UAE's efforts to spread tolerance and hope to the entire world, and represents its leading efforts to reconstruct the damage caused by extremism and terrorism in neighbouring countries.
The UAE, Iraq and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, ICCROM, launched a five-year project to reconstruct the mosque and its leaning minaret, which is largest of its kind in Iraq, at a cost of US$50.4 million.
With funding from the UAE, local authorities in Mosul announced the reconstruction of the mosque and its historic minaret, after their destruction during the battles to expel Daesh, which used the city as its stronghold.
The project highlights the UAE's efforts to spread tolerance in other countries, and its positive efforts to spread hope, moderation and openness against intolerance and intellectual, religious and cultural extremism, as well as its support for Arab people, due to its legacy that was established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The project will involve rebuilding the mosque, especially its minaret, and the buildings attached to it, which were completely destroyed during Daesh's control over the city, as well as the infrastructure around the mosque and its historic gardens. It will also include the construction of a commemorative monument that contains the remnants of the mosque, as well as cultural, social and educational spaces for Mosul's community.
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, stated that the UAE's initiative to rebuild the mosque highlights its goal to spread hope and tolerance in Iraq and defeat terrorism.
In statements to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, she said that the scenes at the mosque after it was targeted by Daesh caused pain for everyone, particularly the people of Mosul, who lost a monument that represented the spirit of their ancient city. The UAE, therefore, launched this initiative during the "Year of Zayed," to rebuild an ancient historic and cultural monument, with the determination of the people of Iraq, she added.
She further added that the launch of the project coincides with the Year of Zayed, and highlights the historic role of Sheikh Zayed in establishing and spreading values that support the Arab people, to ensure their welfare and happiness and the prosperity of their nations.
She stressed that reconstructing the mosque promotes peace and coexistence within a community with various religions, sects and cultures, and coincides with the UAE's announcement that 2019 will be the Year of Tolerance while explaining that the project is a model that showcases the UAE's role in safeguarding international heritage and preserving cultural resources, through adopting sustainable initiatives that ensure the rights of future generations to their ancient heritage sites.
The UAE has a history of safeguarding international heritage, and this strategic step represents the partnership between the UAE and UNESCO in rebuilding major historical landmarks, she further said while pointing out that the mosque is an ancient landmark that serves not only a certain race but all of humanity.
She stated that the UAE's leadership and people would stand by brotherly Iraq as it recovers from the effects of war. "We look forward to cooperating with our brothers, the Iraqis, UNESCO and all of our partners in this project to accomplish the work for the bases of the mosque to be raised once more, for the minaret to ring with the voice of truth, and for this historic landmark to return to playing its leading role as a witness of human civilisation and an immortal international heritage untouched by time."
Abu Bakr Kanaan, Director of the Sunni Endowment in Nineveh Governorate in Iraq said that the Great Al Nuri Mosque is an ancient heritage monument and among the historic mosques, as it is around 1,000 years old and has a special stature in the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq as well as the brotherly Arab countries."
While thanking the UAE for this initiative and for funding the rebuilding of the mosque, he said the mosque is characterised by its "hunchback" minaret, which is around 55 metres high and is decorated by unique artistic designs which reflect Iraq's heritage and history.
Hossam al-Din al-Abbar, member of the Nineveh Provincial Council, expressed his thanks and gratitude to the UAE for its initiative.
He added that rebuilding the "hunchback" minaret for the Al Nuri Mosque will make it a part of the same old ancient heritage while retaining the rest of the minaret as it is as proof of the crimes perpetrated by the Daesh terrorist organisation.
He stated that the project would be executed by some 1,000 workers and pointed to the coordination at the highest level between the UAE and UNESCO.
Musab Jassim, Director of the Nineveh Antiquities Department, said that the UAE's initiative to fund the rebuilding of Al Nuri Mosque and its leaning minaret is important for everyone in the city and the rest of Iraq. Al Nuri Mosque represents an extremely important landmark and symbol for the residents of the old Mosul city, he added.
Al Nuri Mosque is situated on the right coast of Mosul. It is considered one of the ancient mosques of Iraq and the second to be built in Mosul after the Umayyad Mosque. It was built by Nur ad-Din Zangi in the 6th Hijri Century, so it is nine centuries old and was reconstructed several times, the last of which was in 1363 H/1944.
Source: Emirates News Agency