Ali Ayad- Ninewa
In one of the narrow alleys of Mosul’s Old City, amid the rubble of destroyed buildings, passers-by can spot a wooden door with two Cross symbols drawn on both sides of the door, and soon realize that it is the house of one of those Christians who were compelled to leave the city in the wake of the onslaught of the Islamic State (IS) terror group in 2014.
This door is once again opened by Majid Hamid, marking the return of the first Christian to Mosul’s Old City.
As soon as the wooden door was opened a picture of the Virgin Mariam came into sight on a partially destroyed wall facing a burned out room.
Majid has turned one of the rooms into a multi-purpose area where he sleeps, welcomes his guests and even washes since his bathroom is also ruined.
Despite all the rubble scattered around his house, Majid says, “Even if they paid me millions, I wouldn’t sell this house. It is my grandfather’s legacy and it embraces the memories of my ancestors.”
Majid returned to the Old City as soon as he had the chance. He has three sisters; one of them lives in Erbil, the other one is in Duhok while the third one has sought asylum in a European country.
Majid is still single. He considers himself part of a bigger family represented by his neighbors and friends.
Describing to (KirkukNow) his relation with his Muslim neighbor Abu Ibrahim, he said, “ I have Known them for 40 years. I feel that I am part of their family.”
Out of more than 30 churches and monasteries destroyed after (IS) militants overran the city in 2014, only one church has been rebuilt in the eastern side of Mosul.
Majid believes that rebuilding churches is crucial for the return of the Christian community. “People might come back if the churches were built. They long to see Mosul again but where should they go if there houses are destroyed?”, he said.
Although more than a year has passed on recapturing Mosul, only a few number of Christian families have returned home.
The city was home to 3,000 Christian families according to statistics by Christian civil society organizations.
They all decided to leave Mosul in July 2014, after (IS) militants forced them to choose between converting to Islam, paying a special tax or leave.