Iraqi customers attend the Baghdad International Book Exhibition on March 29, 2018, the first held after the defeat of the militant group Islamic State (IS) . (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
BAGHDAD, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraq on Thursday inaugurated the first Baghdad International Book Exhibition after the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
The 10-day exhibition is held at the Baghdad International Fair under the slogan of "We read to promote ourselves."
"Baghdad International Book Exhibition is an important window through which Iraqi intellectuals could look at other sciences and cultures in order to create an educated generation in the future to help building the (Iraqi) state," Mahdi al-Allaq, secretary of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, told Xinhua.
This exhibition is "part of Iraq's efforts to combat extremism and terrorism," because the war against terrorism is not just a military war, but an ideological one, said Allaq, who opened the exhibition on behalf of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Iraq must "remove the negative impacts of terrorism" in the areas that were once occupied by IS, he said.
Ahmed al-Radhi, executive director of the exhibition, told Xinhua that over 4000 publishing and distributing houses from more than 20 countries have participated in the exhibition.
This marked the largest participation in the history of the exhibition since it was first launched in 1978, Radhi said.
He said the exhibition, the first after the victory over IS, has special importance as it shows that "Baghdad will remain the capital of (Iraq's) culture and knowledge."
"The exhibition sends a message of peace and love to the world and gives evidence that life in Iraq has returned to normal and that (Iraqi culture) began to interact with other cultures," Radhi added.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.
However, small groups of IS militants have since melted into urban areas or fled to deserts and rugged areas, carrying out attacks from time to time against security forces and civilians.