Project

Religion and Reconstruction in Iraq

In February, the Iraqi government appealed for $88 billion in aid just to reconstruct the provinces most heavily affected by ISIS and the fight against it. One of the main pillars in Iraq's reconstruction plan is "community reconciliation and peacemaking," particularly between ethnic and religious groups that are still traumatized from recent mutual cleansing between them, yet are now expected to go home and be neighbors.​

How is a Yazidi, a Chaldean, or an Assyrian Christian supposed to trust a Sunni Arab neighbor who allowed ISIS to massacre their people just a few years ago? The official plan calls for local reconciliation councils and peace committees, but the reality on the ground is that many minorities cannot or will not return. Those who do go home are forming sectarian enclaves that rarely mix, and even if the minorities do, almost none will have a Sunni Arab neighbor.

Journalist Alice Su reports on how ethnic and religious tensions are affecting return and reconstruction in Iraq, especially among minority groups from Mosul, Sinjar, and Nineveh. She tells a "post-ISIS" story that not only explores the difficulties of rebuilding Iraq, but also challenges Western understandings of how religion and identity interact in conflict.

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