Ramadan

Laylat al-Qadr celebrations cancelled in Mosul

By Khalid al-Taie

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Worshipers attend prayers at al-Khair mosque in west Mosul. Ninawa province officials decided to not hold Laylat al-Qadr celebrations this year to protect people from potential 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' attacks. [Photo courtesy of the Ninawa Sunni Endowment Directorate]

The Ninawa Sunni Endowments Directorate on Friday (June 16th) announced it was cancelling Laylat al-Qadr celebrations in Mosul and throughout the province.

Muslims consider the "Night of Power" the holiest of the year, as it marks the occasion when the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

The decision to suspend the celebrations was a precautionary measure to prevent the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) from targeting the events, the directorate said.

The directorate "has decided not to open any mosques in Mosul and the province in general for religious celebrations and prayers for Laylat al-Qadr", said Sheikh Mohammed al-Shammaa, imam and preacher of al-Nabi Yunus Mosque.

"The mosques will be open for the five [daily] prayers and Friday prayer only" during Ramadan, he told Diyaruna.

The decision was made after consulting with Ninawa security officials about opening places of worship for the religious events the Sunni Endowments Directorate held every year before ISIS captured Mosul in June 2014.

"The measure was taken for security reasons," al-Shammaa said, noting that there had not been "confirmed terrorist threats".

The decision was made to protect civilians and avoid any potential security breach that would spoil people's happiness over the liberation of their areas and their celebration of Ramadan for the first time after getting rid of ISIS, he said.

"We do not want to give ISIS elements a chance to threaten the security and stability of liberated Mosul neighbourhoods and the other cities in the province," he added.

"The precautionary measure will end by the end of Ramadan, and will not extend to Eid al-Fitr," he said.

Muslims mark the last 10 nights of Ramadan with prayers and worship, particularly Laylat al-Qadr.

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