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07/07/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Iraq’s Babylon Brigade is a militia headed by Chaldean Christian Rayan al-Kildani. It is primarily composed of Shabak and Shia Arabs, and falls under the authority of the Iranian backed Hashd al-Shabi militia. Much effort is given to message the Babylon Brigade as Christian driven and they obtained two out of the five parliamentary seats reserved for Christian minorities.

However, on July 2nd the heads of Iraq’s churches met and published a letter expressing concern about the Babylon Brigade. Their particular grievance is that non-Christians can vote for who represent the Christian parliamentary seats. Thus, the Babylon Brigade was able to obtain two Christian parliamentary seats because of Shi’ite voters and not because of Christian voters. The attempt to distance the church from the Babylon Brigade also comes at a time when the militia is under increased pressure for human rights abuses.

The situation highlights the depth of destruction within Iraq’s own political system and how it can negatively impact the average Christian. The influence of militias within politics means that the environment can quickly escalate to violence. Christians who don’t align to a party are at risk, but doing so also means giving up ones’ rights. There are almost no opportunities for Christians to have a distinct voice in governance.

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