Wedding in Mosul displaced camp defies ISIS rule

Well-wishers danced in defiance of the ISIS at the wedding of a bride and groom

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Well-wishers danced in defiance of ISIS on Thursday at the wedding of a bride and groom among families who fled the militants brutal rule in Iraq’s Mosul.

“In Mosul, I would never have been able to do this,” said the groom, 35-year-old Jassem Mohammad, in the Hasan Sham camp east of Mosul.

“I came here five days ago... and I didn’t want to wait any longer to get married. Today is the wedding,” he said.

“We are very, very happy,” he said. “Everyone in the camp is happy.”

Music, dancing and partying were banned at weddings under ISIS rule in Mosul, the jihadists’ last remaining stronghold in Iraq.

Brides were not allowed to wear white wedding gowns, and grooms could not dress in suits and ties.

But on Thursday the bride was in full wedding regalia: a white dress with a laced bodice, a tiara on her head and a bouquet of blood-red roses clasped in her hands.

Jassem, who wore a grey suit and tie, shook hands with guests at the wedding attended by around 300 people.

The couple got engaged two months ago but postponed their wedding because of the major offensive by Iraqi forces to retake Mosul from the jihadists, said Jassem’s sister, Sabah.

The 19-year-old said she was pleased to be at the wedding but also sad because many of their relatives were still trapped in Mosul and unable to take part.

“But we are happy because this wedding will encourage others in the camp to get married as well,” she added.

The Barzani Charity Foundation planned the event, providing the newlyweds with clothes, a hairdresser and a hotel room for their honeymoon, charity official Najm Eddin Mohammad said.

The couple are to spend two nights at the hotel in Arbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, before returning to the camp.

Awaiting them on their return to the camp would be a “new tent with heating and new bedding”, said Mohammad.

Wedding guest Khaled Mahmoud Mohammed, 43, who also fled from Mosul for the camp at Hasan Sham said he had never seen anything as beautiful in the past two and half years of ISIS rule.

“Everything about Mosul was bleak... there was no music or ullulating at weddings. It was as if we lived in a different country,” he said.

According to the United Nations, a total of 82,000 people are currently displaced as a result of the Mosul operation which was launched on October 17.

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