“ISIS’ main goal is to destroy knowledge and culture, while IBB’s main goal is to create a knowledge movement in Iraq and make information accessible across the Middle East.”
Set up in 2017 to translate Wikipedia into Arabic, Ideas Beyond Borders, or IBB, promotes the exchange of ideas that foster critical thinking and pluralism in the Arab world and represents the antithesis to ISIS ideology, says Al Mutar.
“ISIS’ main goal is to destroy knowledge and culture, while IBB’s main goal is to create a knowledge movement in Iraq and make information accessible across the Middle East,” he adds.
The books represent the start of a new era for the library, which will house a modern, up-to-date collection that serves not just the university but the Mosul community as a whole. Reading has always been important in Iraq—as the old saying goes, “books are written in Egypt, printed in Lebanon and read in Iraq”—and this has never been truer than now, says Al Jaleeli, who heads one of the IBB student translator teams.
“I think that Mosul especially is witnessing a renaissance in which books and reading fall at the heart. … Young people now are hungry for reading, they want to know, to read, to be in contact with other cultures and societies.”
Harith Mohammed loves the atmosphere of libraries and worries that he’ll graduate before work is complete. “I’ll feel really frustrated missing the chance to experience searching and studying at the library. I’d love to relive this experience that my parents and uncles enjoyed when they were college students.”