At least 350 Christian-owned homes in Iraq have been stolen, according to an investigation by an Iraqi television network.

The properties of hundreds of Christians who have fled the country have been occupied or seized. The problem is particularly serious in the historical Christian region of the Nineveh Plain surrounding the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Church organisations have tried to intervene, but one Christian leader in Baghdad told journalists, “In some cases, our intervention has led to restitution; in others, nothing could be done. We ran up against powerful people.” 

Properties have been transferred under false names and sold on in a mirror of the actions of Islamic State terrorists, who appropriated many Christian properties when they overran the Nineveh Plains region in 2014.

The Iraqi government is now rebuilding and restoring churches destroyed and damaged during the group’s three-year occupation of Mosul – around 40 churches were damaged and 15 destroyed – but even if Christians brave enough to return have a place to worship, many no longer have a home to go back to.

Date published: 30/11/2018
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