ASIA/IRAQ - The Muqtada al Sadr Movement initiates the restitution of illegally stolen property from Christians and Mandeans

Thursday, 4 February 2021 middle east   oriental churches   justice   migrants   geopolitics   shi'ites  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - As part of the campaign launched by Shiite politician Muqtada al Sadr to protect Christians and Mandaeans who had been the victims of the illegal confiscation of their property in recent years, 38 properties - land and houses - have already been returned to their legitimate owners. On Wednesday, February 3, Hakim al Zamili, a leading exponent of the Sadrist Movement (the political group headed by Muqtada al Sadr), formerly of the leadership of the Security and Defense Commission of the former Iraqi parliament.
In his statement, relaunched by Iraqi media, al Zamili reported that much of the property illegally stolen from Christian citizens and Mandaeans had been in the hands of local militias, local gangs or influential family clans for years, confirming that the phenomenon of illegal expropriations of Christian citizens has skyrocketed since 2003, following US-led military interventions that led to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.
At the beginning of 2021, the Iraqi Shiite politician Muqtada al Sadr initiated the creation of an ad hoc committee to investigate complaints regarding cases of illegal property expropriation from Christian owners in various regions of the country (see Fides 4/1/2021). The decision was communicated in a statement published in the first few days of 2021, in which the names of the collaborators of Muqtada al Sadr chosen as members of the Committee are indicated, as well as the e-mail addresses and Whatsapp accounts to which the Christians can send ownership documents concerning real estate - houses and land - illegally expropriated in recent years by other people or groups of people. The intention of the operation launched by the Shiite leader is to restore justice and end violations of the property rights of the "Christian brothers", including those for which members of the Shiite movement led by al Sadr were responsible.
The request to report cases of illegal expropriations suffered was also extended to families of Christians who have left the country in recent years.
The phenomenon of illegal expropriation of Christian homes was able to prevail thanks to the toleration and cover-up by corrupt officials who put themselves at the service of individual fraudsters and organized groups (see Fides, 23/7/2015). The “legalized” theft of property from Christian families is linked to the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Thereafter, homes and land that had been left unattended were taken over on the simple assumption that none of the owners would return to claim the property. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 4/2/2021)