Iraqi violinist returns to play Mosul after ISIS
Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS's rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Amid the bombed-out ruins of an ancient site revered by both Muslims and Christians in Mosul, Iraqi violinist Ameen Mukdad held a small concert in the city he was forced to flee by Islamic State militants. REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed
As Mukdad played scores he had composed in secret while living under the militants' austere rule, explosions and gunfire could be heard from Mosul's western districts where U.S.-backed forces are still battling Islamic State for control. REUTERS/...more
"This is a place for all, not just one sect. Daesh represents no religion but is an ideology that suppresses freedom," Mukdad told Reuters, using a derogatory name for the militants. "Everything about Daesh is wrong." REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed
Mukdad, 28, fled Mosul after Islamic State fighters stormed his house and confiscated his instruments, deeming his music a violation of their hardline interpretation of Sunni Islam. Wednesday's hour-long concert marked his first return to the city...more
Mukdad said he chose the Tomb of Jonas, or Mosque of the Prophet Younis, as the site is known by Muslims, to symbolize unity. "I want to take the opportunity to send a message to the world and send a strike against terrorism and all ideologies which...more
Mukdad advertised the concert venue and time on social media, a bold move in eastern Mosul at a time the militants still control the Old City across the Tigris river. Soldiers guarding the venue, which lies near the ancient Nineveh ruins, at first...more
Under Islamic State rule, entertainment was banned. But in defiance of the militants, Mukdad continued to play at home alone or quietly with a dwindling circle of fellow musicians, closing windows to avoid detection. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
One night the militants raided Mukdad's house, taking his instruments and vowing to punish him. He escaped to Baghdad where he still lives. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
In a sign of how nervous Mosul residents remain six months into the military operation to flush out Islamic State, just 20 people, mostly young men, attended the concert. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
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