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Muslim businessman erects tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad to show solidarity with Christians

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A large Christmas tree in al-Zawra Park, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday. (AP Photo/Assad Muhsin)

As war rages on in the Middle East, there is a small glimmer of hope standing tall in Baghdad.

Yassir Saad, a Muslim businessman in Iraq, says he has erected the tallest Christmas tree in the city to show solidarity with Christians during the holiday season.

Saad told The Associated Press on Thursday that the goal of the initiative is to come together with "our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul," where Iraqi forces are waging war against the Islamic State.

The tree, which stands 85 feet tall and stretches 33 feet wide, has been erected in Baghdad's al-Zawra Park. In total, Saad said the project came with a $24,000 price tag.

The Christian population in Iraq has been on a sharp and steady decline since the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion of the region in 2003. In addition, Christians — along with other religious minorities — have been specifically targeted by Islamic radicals.

Of the Christians who have survived, many have fled their homeland to find safety and economic stability elsewhere.

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