Finally, there is hope for the thousands of families living under the horrifying regime of Daesh in Mosul.
According to reports, the Islamist extremist group’s stronghold will be liberated by the end of the year. Men, women and children have been suffering unimaginable terror since Daesh took control of the city in 2014.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently addressed residents of Mosul via radio to tell them, “victory is near”. It’s uncertain whether the message reached the 2.5 million people trapped in the city, which is being called a ‘giant prison’. Daesh has done its best to close off communication with the outside world to prevent people discovering the chasm between Daesh’s rosy portrayal of life under their rule and the wretched, brutal reality.
Children have been prevented from going to school. They have been indoctrinated into Daesh’s contorted ideology. They have witnessed gruesome acts of violence. Some have been victims themselves, such as the recent story of an eleven-year-old boy who had his hand cut off with a sword by Daesh fighters who accused him of being a thief.
The scars of life under Daesh will last for a long time, but we must be thankful that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our Muslim brothers and sisters have been suffering in a dark, violent environment for far too long.
The things we take for granted in the UK, such as going to work, our kids playing in the streets, the freedom to enjoy quality family time, are non-existent in Mosul. Families there have experienced beheadings, stoning, hunger and other horrors of life in the grip of Daesh.
The next few months will be frightening, unsettling and dangerous for them. Displaced residents of Mosul are sending messages of support and urging families to cooperate with Iraqi forces as they begin the operation to free the city from Daesh.
The liberation of Mosul and the collapse of Daesh sends a powerful message that Islamist extremism will not prevail. Muslims value freedom, liberty and faith and reject Daesh’s twisted version of Islam.
We stand united with the families of Mosul. We pray they will soon be able to rebuild their lives and look optimistically towards a brighter future.