Sale of Churches Sparks Controversy in Iraq

01/08/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  The sale of churches and potential corruption regarding the resulting funds has sparked fresh controversy in Iraq. This comes as three churches have recently been listed for sale for residential or commercial purposes: the Syriac Catholic Church in Shurja, the Church of Divine Wisdom in Adhamiya, and a monastery in Dora.

Exactly how many churches have previously and are currently listed for sale is unknown. However, the massive wave of Christian immigration over the last several years has emptied many churches. This has prompted the sale of churches, particularly in areas such as Baghdad where the Christian population has decreased significantly.

Some have called for greater accountability and transparency regarding the funds obtained through these sales. Others claim these sales bury the Christian history of Iraq. A former Member of Parliament who is also a Christian has petitioned that these churches be turned into heritage sites. Still others say that given the immigration of Christians there is nothing to do but sell the churches.

The Iraqi government has not taken an official stance on the situation. The church buildings are sold through the facilitation of senior Christian figures.

For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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