Pope Francis’ Visit to Iraq Does Nothing for Iraqi Christians

Image depicts a cross atop Saint Matthew Monastery (Der Mar Matti), a Syriac Orthodox monastery overlooking the Nineveh Plains towns of Bashiqa and Bartella, in between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. (Photo, caption courtesy Levi Clancy via Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0)

A four-day papal tour of Iraq made history this weekend, but it leaves Christians’ problems unresolved.

On Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged Christians in Nineveh to forgive their persecutors and rebuild communities. Believers say it will take significant changes on the ground to make that happen.

Squatters or armed militia now occupy the homes left behind when Christians fled persecution.

“It’s difficult [for Christians] to get a home back because they are vulnerable. They don’t have big militia groups or other powerful forces within the country to support them, and it’s very difficult to rectify these kinds of abuses,” Middle East Concern’s Daniel Hoffman says.

“Pray for the continued presence of the Christian communities in Iraq, that they will take their place as ‘light and salt’ in the country.”

Property seizures began in 2003 when Christians started leaving Iraq in droves. More believers followed in 2014 as the Islamic State waged war on historic Christian communities, leaving homes vacant and vulnerable.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray believers can reclaim their homes.
  • Ask the Lord to protect Iraqi Christians from new threats.