Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - There are 14 cases of illegal expropriations of real estate of Christians in Baghdad documented in the first dossier that the Chaldean Patriarchate delivered yesterday to the leaders of the committee, recently set up by the Iraqi political authorities, with the specific task of collecting information and arranging concrete measures regarding the violence suffered by Christians in the Iraqi capital. The delivery of the dossier, which took place on Sunday, August 30, is the first, diligent response of the Chaldean Patriarchate to the demands of the committee, that had urged on behalf of the church, assistance in gathering information on cases of expropriation, abduction, extortion and harassment which in recent months have mainly targeted Christians in Baghdad. In the dossier, in addition to cases involving illegal property expropriations, the names of Christians seized and made victims of extortion are also mentioned.
The committee of the police to combat the escalation of kidnappings and illegal expropriation of homes and land suffered in recent months by the Christians in the Iraqi capital had been set up in recent days on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi (see Fides 24 August). The heads of the Committee, in a meeting with the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I, had asked the church to provide all appropriate assistance to facilitate the operations of the census of real estate abusively taken from Christian families, collecting the title deeds and pointing out individuals, groups and corporate bodies that now benefit of illegally expropriated properties.
In recent months both in Baghdad and in other Iraqi cities, cases of housing and land illegally taken from their respective Christian owners through the production of false legal documents had multiplied. The phenomenon managed to take hold thanks to collusion and coverings of corrupt and dishonest officials. On 13 July, Patriarch Louis Raphael I had made a public appeal to the political authorities and institutions of the Country, demanding the government greater protection against gangs. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 31/08/2015)