Since 2003, Iraq’s Christians have been needlessly persecuted and brought to the brink of extinction. In an attempt to show solidarity, one Muslim man made a decision that shook the nation.
Yassir Saad is a Muslim businessman. Like others in Iraq, he has seen the atrocities the country’s Christians are constantly subjected to.
When the Islamic State rose to power, Saad witnessed the Christian population dwindling across the Middle East.
Fully aware of the stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community, Saad decided to display a symbol of peace and love toward the remaining Christian population.
He erected a Christmas tree, standing 85-feet-tall and measuring 33-feet-wide.
The $24,000 tree was placed in Baghdad’s al-Zawra Park.
Saad told the Associated Press the tree is an act of “joining our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul.”
In 2003, 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq. Today, the number is thought to be as low as 200,000.
Isaac Six, an advocacy director at International Christian Concern (ICC) told Christian Today that the past thirteen years has been difficult for the country’s Christians.
“Of the relatively small number who remain, hope is in very short supply,” Six explained.
“ICC has been working since August of 2014 with many of these communities to provide relief and assistance, and what we see now, even with ISIS slowly being pushed out of the country, is still a tremendous amount of fear that it’s only a matter of time until they will have to leave the region all-together.”