Christians in Iraq Struggle to Reclaim Ancestral Homeland in Nineveh Plains

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christians in Iraq are struggling to reclaim their ancestral territory, according to a new report by International Christian Concern (ICC).

The Nineveh Plains, traditionally home to Iraq’s Assyrian Christians, were an early target of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's Islamic State Campaign, which saw hundreds of thousands of Christians displaced and sent to neighboring Kurdistan.

Now Christians attempting to return home face a threat to repatriation on three fronts: The Iraqi government, which seeks to reappropriate Christian farmlands for Shi’ite use, the Iran-backed Hashd a-Shaabi Shi’ite militias themselves, and ISIS, which declared a new insurgency in April despite US claims of its territorial defeat in March.

“The problem is that there are still some accidents caused by ISIS, and some accidents caused by some groups existing in the Nineveh Plains who are supported by militias and the Shia parties and also by Iran,” a Christian priest from Nineveh Plains told ICC, referring to a pair of fires affecting Christian farmlands in the cities of Karamles and Qeraqosh at the end of May.

Since 2003, Iraq has lost around two thirds of its former 1.5 million Christian population, which dates its beginning to the apostles Thomas and Thaddeus.