Iraqi town elects first ever female Christian mayor

The small town of Alqosh in Iraq's Nineveh Plain has elected its first female Christian mayor on July 27, making her the country's second female mayor after Zekra Alwach was elected by Baghdad in 2015.

(REUTERS / Ari Jalal)Christian volunteers, who have joined the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, take part in a training at a training base in the town of Alqosh, 50 km (30 miles) from Mosul, Iraq, October 11, 2016.

Lara Yussif Zara, a Catholic who finished economics and management course in 2006, replaced Chaldean Christian mayor Abdul Micha after the latter was ousted over corruption charges. Alqosh's municipal council voted for her in a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Catholic Herald detailed.

Alqosh is mostly made up of Christians, but the small Iraqi town is brewing with tensions on whether minorities should support the Iraqi Kurdistan government's efforts for independence. The public is hoping that Zara may succeed in uniting the community in its decision over the issue.

For three years, the people of Alqosh lived near territory occupied by the Islamic State, given that the Nineveh Plain is an area rife with conflict. The town is the only major Christian city in the area which was not overtaken by the militant group, the Catholic News Agency reported.

Now that Iraqi forces have recaptured Mosul from ISIS, Christian leaders are eager to have the city rebuilt so that people can return to their homes. However, they know that this monumental task will require a lot of help.

Alqosh parish priest Fr. Ghazwan Baho told CNA how thankful they are that Mosul has finally been liberated from the clutches of ISIS. However, he said the city's future is still dark.

"We thank God that the evil was overcome, but Mosul is a city almost 80 percent destroyed. The future is dark. There isn't much hope of reconstruction," Father Baho said.

For Baho, winning the war against ISIS is not enough because they still have to rebuild the destroyed towns, and there is not much hope in the reconstruction of Mosul. He acknowledged that they are afraid that revenge will come haunting them in the future as their land if full of conflict, but he is still hoping for the best results.