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, Iraq, April 19, 2017. MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

'Music Is a Beautiful Thing': Iraqi Violinist Plays on as Battle Against ISIS Continues

Amid the bombed-out ruins of an ancient site revered by both Muslims and Christians in Mosul a violinist brings music back to a city ISIS oppressed for over three years

Amid the bombed-out ruins of an ancient site revered by both Muslims and Christians in Mosul, Iraqi violinist Ameen Mukdad on Wednesday held a small concert in the city he was forced to flee by Islamic State militants.

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 that was overrun by Islamic State in 2014.

He said he chose the Tomb of Jonas, or Mosque of the Prophet Younis, as the site is known by Muslims, to symbolise unity.

MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

Mukdad advertised the concert venue and time on social media, a bold move in eastern Mosulat 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 refused access after the boom of a nearby rocket rang out, saying they could not guarantee the public's safety. They later relented, and troops joined the applauding crowd.

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.

MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS
MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS
MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS
MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

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