In the chaos following the Iraq war, the homes of thousands of Christian families in cities across Iraq were illegally taken and occupied. There is hope now that these properties will eventually be restored to their rightful owners. Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr, who has strong representation in the Parliament of Baghdad, has ordered the creation of a committee to oversee the collection and verification of complaints regarding illegal expropriations from Christian property owners.
A statement has just been published asking Christians to submit their ownership documents to the committee.
The Shiite leader says he wants to restore justice and end violations of the property rights of the 'Christian brothers' - including those for which members of his own movement were responsible.
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The request to report cases of illegal expropriations suffered is also addressed to families of Christians who have left the country. Complaints about abuse against Christian property owners can be sent to the committee by the end of next Ramadan.
On the morning of Sunday 3 January 2021, a delegation sent by Muqtada al Sadr and led by Sheikh Salah al-Obaidi visited Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako to offer the Head of the Chaldean Church greetings for the Christmas season, together with a copy of the document with which the Shiite politician set up the committee.
Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako thanked Muqtada al Sadr for the initiative, which is aimed at putting an end to the injustices suffered by Christian citizens and placing the protection of the common good of the nation above any private or sectarian interests.
Muqtada al Sadr has spoken up for the rights of Christians in Iraq for several years. In 2016 he called for houses and real estate belonging to Christian families that had been illegally expropriated in Baghdad, Kirkuk and other Iraqi regions to be returned. With the establishment of the committee - the return of the properties is a step closer.