Other Iraqis including Sunnis, Shiites, Yazidis and Sabians are generally sympathetic to the Christians, as they are considered part of a peaceful and civil sect in Iraq. They expressed solidarity with Christians and objected to the confiscation of their houses.
However, Rubaie’s announcement shocked Iraqi society and sparked a debate between Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Christian politicians. One of them, Imad Youkhana, said in July 2015, “Prime Minister Abadi promised to put an end to all violations [against Christians] and give the homes back to their original owners, but he has failed to do so.”
Youkhana accused “illegal religious parties and militias” of “seizing the homes of Christians in Baghdad, kidnapping them and threatening them.” He noted that the situation in the capital is “leading to ethnic cleansing and demographic change.”
The political parties and the government are well aware of these practices, but something seems to be preventing the government and security forces from protecting the property of Christians who have been present in Iraq for thousands of years.
Yonadam Kanna, chairman of the Rafidain Christian parliamentary bloc, told Al-Monitor, “Militias affiliated with political parties are trying to eliminate Christians from Baghdad and seizing their property by force.” He stressed, “The government is well aware of these violations but it is not doing anything about it.”
He went on, “Those gangs continue to seize the property of Christians, and according to the information I have received, dozens of homes were seized, but I am sure the number is much higher as certain families left immediately after their homes were seized without filing a complaint or reporting anything, fearing for their lives. The seized homes are often empty homes whose owners have already left. But in some cases, the [gangs] threaten to kill the owners and they seize the homes while the families are still living there.”