School in Christian town of Bartella named after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A school recently opened in the Christian town of Bartella east of Mosul in northern Iraq has generated anger among the local population due to its controversial name and origin.
The ‘Imam Khomeini' school, named after the former Supreme Leader of Iran, is located in the village of Khazna Tappa, a multi-ethnoreligious town with a Shia majority, less than 20 kilometers east of Mosul.
Hussein Hamed, the Director of Education in Mosul told local news outlets there are now strong disagreements between the directorate and the people of the village.
“The name of the school is Zahra under the Nineveh registration list, but in reality and among the people, it is known as the Imam Khomeini School,” Hamed stated.
The school was constructed in 2014 before the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) but remained unfinished. It sustained considerable damage in the following years, and many improvised explosive devices (IEDs) built by the jihadist group were found in the school.
“The school was renovated and opened on Thursday in a ceremony attended by the Iranian Consul General in Erbil Murtadha Abadi,” Hamed added.
Sunni and Christians Iraqis expressed their concerns on social media regarding the ostentatious display of Iranian influence and interference in northern Iraq and pointed to the Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as another example.
The town of Bartella was home to almost 30,000 people, mostly Christians before it fell into the hands of the jihadist group in 2014. The area was liberated on October 20, 2016, and is under the control of Iraqi and Hashd al-Shaabi forces.
Editing by G.H. Renaud