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Iraqi architect set to return home to help with rebuilding

British-Iraqi architect Sami Mousawi is to return to his 'motherland' to help rebuild the war-torn country following the defeat of Saddam Hussein.

The Manchester-based founding partner of Sami Mousawi Associates told the AJ that he felt impelled to 'go and help the country out'.

Mousawi - who designed the Mosque of Rome in 1984 - said he was delighted that the regime had been toppled but insisted that it is the time to look to the future and 'not dwell on the past'.

The 65-year-old German-trained architect - who last felt able to visit his homeland in 1989 - said that the country faced 'its biggest challenge, the challenge of peace'. He felt 'driven to return to the country of his childhood' to rebuild, he said.

His practice is talking to engineering giant Buro Happold about a deal to design mosques in Baghdad, he said, adding that he was delighted to be able to work with British firms on the Iraqi reconstruction. 'Now we want to build our future, ' he said. 'I grew up with British people helping to build my country in the 1930s and '40s. I am pleased they are there to help again.'

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