Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

Follow us on social
  • Review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
    Let’s time-travel to the year 2012 and the world is raving about none other than Katniss Everdeen. I remember being in elementary school, begging my mother to let me dress up as her for my birthday. Now it’s over ten years later and I’m still just as excited for the new movie as I was […]
  • Found Family Books for the Holidays
    The holidays are quickly approaching and for some of us that means seeing our family. However, family has a loose definition. It could mean blood or who you were raised with. It could also mean people you’ve found during your life journey. Either way, the holidays are meant for spending quality time with those you […]

Mosul airport renovations

MOSUL, Iraq – A modern, glass-topped tower glistens through dust blowing across this dilapidated Saddam Hussein-era airfield, where commercial planes haven’t landed for nearly 15 years.

This December, U.S. and Iraqi authorities plan to use the new air traffic control tower to guide jets shuttling locals to Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage – jump-starting what they hope will be regular commercial air service to Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city.

The $13.2 million renovation of Mosul’s airport – including the new tower and an enlarged, refurbished passenger terminal – was directed by the Ninevah provincial council and funded by the U.S. State Department.

Not only would the airport allow Muslims to make the hajj directly from Mosul – avoiding the often treacherous roads en route to other airports in Baghdad or Irbil – but it could also be a boon to the local economy. Mosul lies 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, halfway between Iraq’s seat of power and prosperous, business ventures in Kurdish territory to the north.

“You’ll have a major hub for transportation and everything that brings – tourism and commerce,” said Navy Cmdr. Jay Sebastyn, deputy leader of the U.S. State Department’s provincial reconstruction team in Mosul.

With about 2.7 million residents, Ninevah is Iraq’s second-largest province in area behind Anbar, and second only to Baghdad in population. Ninevah’s parched, rolling hills – crisscrossed by the Tigris River – are bounded by Syria to the west, and stretch up to snowcapped mountains in Kurdish territory to the north and east.

It is also the country’s most diverse, with dozens of ethnic and religious minorities including the ancient Yazidi sect. Homeland of the biblical prophet Jonah, Ninevah contains many archaeological ruins and some of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world – which officials hope could eventually lure thousands of foreign tourists each year.

The hajj flights have been a priority for Mosul authorities since last year, when 750 pilgrims from the area were stranded at the nearest international airport in Irbil, part of the autonomous Kurdish region just north of Mosul, and missed the annual journey altogether.

Hajj flights are chartered and paid for by the government, and faithful win participation through a lottery. This year’s hajj is expected to take place in late December, according to the Muslim lunar calendar.

Last year, the Mosul pilgrims had government permits to leave Iraq for the hajj, and it remains unclear why they were blocked from boarding planes.

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *