(RNS) — Three years ago the so-called Islamic State destroyed the mosque at the site of what many Muslims believe to be the tomb of Jonah, which for centuries drew Muslim and Christian pilgrims to Iraq’s second-largest city.

Now that ISIS has been driven from Mosul, Muslim traditionalists say it is imperative to start reconstructing the Mosque of the Prophet Jonah, which had marked the site since the 12th century, along with the ruins of a seventh-century Christian church.

“Jonah’s Mosque is a centerpiece of our collective memory,” said Hafidh Al-Rahho, a lecturer in Islamic architecture at Ishik University in Irbil.

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