Iraqi architects and archaeologists have criticized an international plan to restore the historic Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi delivered his famous sermon in 2014, pointing out that the new Cubist design “is inspired by the Gulf” and does not preserve the originality and character of the traditional mosque.
The British Telegraph newspaper, which reported the news, said many residents of Mosul – which is Iraq’s second largest city – expected to rebuild their beloved mosque complex using domes and arches. in line with the historic architectural style of the old town, indicating that they are not satisfied For the modern cubist design chosen.
Iraqi experts have also confirmed that the design, which won an international competition, ignores the city’s unique heritage, wondering why an Iraqi architect was not chosen to carry out the project.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced last Thursday that it had chosen an Egyptian company to rebuild the Grand Mosque as part of a project to restore parts of the old city of Mosul, badly damaged during the control of ISIS and UAE militants have pledged $ 50 million for the project.
This is Sharjah
“It’s not like a Mosul… it’s exactly like Sharjah,” said Rasha Al-Aqidi, senior analyst at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy in Washington, referring to the Gulf emirate famous for its contemporary architecture. , including the exquisite design of the Bee’ah Emirati Headquarters, designed by famous Iraqi-British engineer Zaha Hadid.
“We can clearly see the influence of the Emirati influence here … the mosque did not originally need to be redesigned,” added the researcher, from the city of Mosul.
As for Junaid Al-Fakheri, archaeologist and native of Mosul, the historical value of the local architecture of the old city should be of paramount importance in the efforts of reconstruction.
He adds: “The Nuri Mosque is part of the genetic symbol and identity of Mosul. The mosque and the minaret are archaeological and historical sites that must be preserved, and no detail that reduces their archaeological value must be altered. ”
He asked why not opt for a more traditional restoration, such as the proposal of the engineer of Mosul, Hosnia Gerges, who indicated in his request that it seeks to preserve “the original character and the authenticity” of the mosque. .
The winning Egyptian team announced that the restoration plan it proposed mainly meets the imperatives of “social cohesion and energization of souls”. Publicity
UNESCO justified its choice by saying that the nine jurors of the selection committee, including two Iraqis, consulted representatives of the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister and of the Ministry of Culture.
It should be noted that the Great Mosque of al-Nuri gained international fame in 2014 when the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivered from his pulpit a famous sermon in which he declared himself at the head of the “caliphate”. . It was his only public appearance as head of the organization shortly after its fighters seized the city and nearly a third of the Iraq and Syria region.
Three years later, as Iraqi security forces waged a devastating 9-month battle to recapture Mosul, besieged ISIS fighters blew up the mosque compound rather than allow Iraqi forces to retake it. .
The al-Nuri Mosque was named after Nur al-Din Mahmud Zangi – famous for the unification of Islamic forces against the Crusaders – who ordered its construction in 1172, and the building is also famous for its tilted minaret called “ Al-Hadbaa ”.