How Beyonce inspired an Iraqi peace movement

Co-founder of the group: Beyonce’s lyrics “were so powerful, so life-changing”

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Since its release two years ago, I Was Here, a song by U.S. pop star Beyonce, has been adopted by a team of young Iraqis who have started a charitable campaign named after the track.

The song’s lyrics, which include “I just want them to know… That I gave my all, did my best,” inspired Mohammad Huzaifa Muluki and Muna Abdel Halim - who hail from the capital Baghdad - and three other friends to launch a humanitarian group with the name “I Was Here.”

From its original team of five, the group now has around 150 volunteers.

Beyonce’s lyrics “were so powerful, so life-changing,” Muluki, a 23-year-old university student in Baghdad told U.S.-based current affairs site Fox News.

“I know it is difficult to do, but we want to change the world and that song made us realize we can. We can leave in a world with peace, without war, without terror.”

Over the last two years, the group has been involved in numerous charitable activities, including the cleaning up and reopening of a historic school to the distribution of food baskets for the needy during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

The group was also able to provide a wheelchair to a child who had to drop out of school because of his disability.

“It was quite a happy day; [the child] returned to school and he could not believe it,” Muluki told Washington-based news site al-Monitor.

The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, which now controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, has failed to dent the spirits of the campaigners, Muluki said.

“Every day we see and hear images and stories of pain and suffering in our own neighborhoods and in countries far away. But we also find acts of kindness, great and small,” he said.

“We’re planting the idea of goodness in the hearts of people on the principle that Beyonce sings - ‘do something good somewhere for someone.’ We’re educating people in Iraq on their human rights,” Muluki added.

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