11/23/2018 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – The centuries old Iraqi tribal practice of resolving disputes through the “degga ashairiya” has now been classified by the government as an act of terrorism punishable by death, according to France24 News. When two Iraqi tribes engage in a dispute, tribal customs dictates that they meet and resolve the issue through de facto hearings. If one tribe fails to show, the rival tribe can fire on the absentee tribe’s homes, a practice known as the degga.
Tribal practices have been on the rise because the state is viewed as unreliable. The state has often showed a reluctance or inability to interfere in violent tribal disputes. These disputes are evident all across Iraq, particularly in the south, further deteriorating the security situation.
Iraq’s Christians have no rights when a dispute emerges with tribal members. Even when a dispute arises in places such as Baghdad, the nation’s capital, it is impossible to resolve the situation in a court of law. Tribal disputes are yet another reason why so many Christians have chosen to live in Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, where such tribal activities are less commonplace. However, with the Nineveh Plains destroyed by ISIS, Christians are left with few positive options on rebuilding their lives.
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