Iraqi government moves to protect Christian minority

The Iraqi government has moved to establish a committee with the aim of identifying and countering persecution against Christians in the country.

On the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al Abadi, the committee will work to collect details of incidences of persecution from the long-suffering community and formulate concrete security responses to better protect Christians.

Among those areas to be examined by the committee will be the phenomenon of Christian abduction, by which extreme elements have extorted the Christian minority as well as using the crime as a method to instil fear. Also included in the committee’s remit is the issue of expropriated properties, those homes and businesses seized from Christians through threats and via corrupt officials. It is understood a full census of properties allegedly seized is underway, together with the compiling of a detailed list of individuals and businesses currently reaping the financial benefits from such seized properties.

Property seizures from Christians in Baghdad and other cities have reportedly increased in recent months, highlighting the corrupt practices of city officials, while ongoing kidnappings have led to vocal appeals for government action. In Baghdad alone in early July, four Christians were abducted for money, with two of these murdered despite the payment of ransoms.