Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – A committee of the security forces has been set up with the aim to collect information and provide practical measures regarding the violence and abuse suffered by Christians in Iraq and in particular in the capital. This is what Iraqi sources told Agenzia Fides. The committee was set up on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi, and aims to counter in particular the escalation of kidnappings and illegal expropriation of homes and land which in recent months Iraqi Christians have suffered. The heads of the Committee have already visited the headquarters of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Baghdad and spoke with Patriarch Louis Raphael I in order to start collecting data and information about the abuses suffered by Christians. In particular, the first step is to carry out a census of the real estate abusively taken from Christian families, collecting the title deeds and indicating the individual, groups and corporate bodies that now benefit of illegally expropriated properties. The parishes and Christian communities will be able to also provide information to the security committee regarding the cases of kidnapped Christians including clues to identify the perpetrators of kidnappings.
In recent months, both in Baghdad and in other Iraqi cities, the cases of housing and land illegally taken from their respective Christian owners, through false legal documents, have multiplied. The phenomenon has been able to take hold thanks to collusion and coverings of corrupt and dishonest officials. In Baghdad alone, between late June and early July, four Iraqi Christians had been kidnapped, and two of them were found dead by the police, despite the ransom paid by their families to the kidnappers. On 13 July, the Patriarch Louis Raphael I had made a public appeal to political authorities and institutions of the Country, demanding the government greater protection against gangs. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 24/08/2015)