When the United States moved into Iraq in 2003 to overthrow the merciless and brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, we did so to protect the people of Iraq. However, it seems that for the most part, the US only protected Iraq’s Muslim population and left the nation’s Christians to suffer at the hands of those we were protecting.
In the aftermath of the invasion, the United States has spent billions of dollars helping to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure. We’ve helped repair and rebuild their oil industry, electrical system, highways, schools, hospitals and even mosques. We helped establish a new government that promised to be fair to everyone, but we’ve seen the corruption that has constantly plagued the Iraqi government.
Over the past 12 years, have you ever heard of anything the US has done to help or protect Iraq’s Christian population which numbered several million? Have you heard of any US aid being used to help rebuild Christian churches?
What I am hearing now is how the government in Baghdad that we helped establish and train, has stolen thousands of homes and properties that legally belonged to Christians.
Fearing the violence of the war and the retribution of militant Muslims, around 1 million Christians fled Baghdad. In fact, is it estimated that around 66% of all of the Christians fled the country in fear of their lives at the hands of the militant Muslims.
In the wake of their fleeing, around 70% of the Christian homes in Baghdad have been illegally seized. The news was initially reported by Baghdad Beituna (Baghdad Our Home), a non-government organization. Saad Jassim, Director of Baghdad Beituna, commented:
“Most of the Christians who left Iraq for Europe had their homes stolen. Since then, their ownership was transferred, and the homes are now occupied by militia commanders and politicians in or close to power.”
Mohammed al-Rubai, a member of the Baghdad Municipal Council has come forward, admitting what has been taking place, saying:
“These houses belonged to Christians who fled from Baghdad, seeking refuge from violent attacks targeting them and their homes. The title deed documents have been falsified and the new title deeds have been lodged with the real estate registry.”
“Many properties have been given illegally to other Iraqi citizens. [I]t is possible that both parties [the original and new owners] can possess legally registered title deeds to the same property.”
The Supreme Judicial Council launched an investigation and as reported by Michael F. Haverluck:
“The Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq asserts that members of the government who served under former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are among the perpetrators who are suspected of illegally seizing Christians’ property in Baghdad and southern Iraq — including homes, churches and monasteries.”
“The confusion and lawlessness were ushered in with some problematic policies that were instituted after the ousting of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.”
“‘The U.S. administration under Paul Bremer abolished decrees on land ownership issued under Saddam Hussein, which resulted in chaos exploited by powerful individuals and criminal networks,’ Christian Today reports. ‘They took over land, including churches and monasteries built in the 1970s and ‘80s, falsely claiming that the land had belonged to them.’”
In other words, the United States set the policies that have been exploited by the Iraqi and Baghdad leaders to steal the homes, properties and churches that rightfully belong to hundreds of thousands of Christians. Sadly, our government has remained silent about this atrocity and their involvement in what has happened and we have done nothing to try to right the wrongs.
I can’t help but wonder if it had been corrupt Christian leaders stealing the homes and properties of Muslims if we would have remained so silent and unmoving?
Fortunately, there may be some hope of Iraq’s Christians as the Supreme Judicial Council has put out a call for all Christians who fled the nation to Europe to begin filing lawsuits in Baghdad so that they can start reclaiming their homes. They issued a statement, saying:
“All properties that were confiscated, seized or had their ownership transferred or appropriated on ethnic, religious or sectarian grounds, or those seized without remuneration will be investigated. The offenders will be held accountable and the victims will be given justice.”
It’s really a sad commentary for our once Christian nation that Iraq’s Muslims are now trying to help the Christians that we abandoned and allowed to have everything stolen from them by the people we did help and support.