A wealthy Muslim businessman has purchased and erected what is now known as the tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad in order to show solidarity with the persecuted Iraqi Christian community and help Iraqis forget the “anguish” caused by the conflict with the Islamic State in the Nineveh province. The Associated Press reports that Yassir Saad erected an 85-feet tall artificial Christmas tree, which spans 33 feet in diameter, in the center of the al-Zawraa amusement park in Baghdad. The cost of the tree, Saad said, was about $24,000.

As hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled from their homes and are now living as refugees or displaced persons due to fear of persecution by IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL), Saad explained that the point of the Christmas tree initiative at the theme park is for Muslims and others to join “our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations.” READ MORE