Iraqi Christians Victim to Land-Grabbing

July 30, 2020

The persecution of Christians in Iraq is ongoing. While ISIS has been defeated, other groups also treat Christians badly, as this story indicates. These Assyrian Christians have lived in Iraq since the earliest ages of Christianity. However, their presence in that land may soon be only a memory.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has been working energetically with leaders in the U.S. and Europe to change this. Above all, we need your prayers to help us continue and expand this work, before it is too late.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, click here.

“Iraqi Christians Victim to Land-Grabbing,” International Christian Concern, July 30, 2020:

07/30/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –Iraq’s Nahla Valley, located within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is a historically Assyrian Christian area that has long been subjected to land-grabbing attempts. The village has fought these attempts through a court of law. However, an earlier court’s decision protecting their rights over the land has now been reversed. The decision impacts approximately 117 Christian families who rely upon the land as a source of livelihood as they farm crops and raise livestock.

These families hold a land title deed from the 1950s confirming their right to this land. The title deed was updated in 2015. The current problem with land-grabbing traces back to the early 1980s, when a radical Islamic sheikh encouraged Kurdish families to build homes and other structures on the Christians’ land. Today, these families have lost access to approximately 75% of their property. Such critical loss makes it impossible to sustain their normal source of livelihood. Kurdish families continue building new structures on the remaining land, as witnessed by ICC during a fact-finding trip.

Nahla’s Christians have made several attempts to resolve this issue through the KRG’s legal system. In the past, the authorities have made attempts at blocking these Christians from leaving Nahla and attending events which would raise awareness about their plight. Earlier this year, the courts confirmed the rights of Nahla Christians on this issue. However, the Kurdish families appealed on the basis that they have lived there for years. This appeal was won.

…Without access to this land, they will not be able to continue surviving in their homes, forcing them to be displaced elsewhere….