What is Abadi doing to Protect Iraq’s Christians?

Milad Majid (a pseudonym) told Al-Monitor over Skype about the threats that pushed him to escape to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and then displaced him permanently to the United States. He said, “I lived in Al-Ghadeer, Baghdad, and I was harassed by armed groups many times. They called me ‘nasrani’ [Arabic for “Christian”] and ‘mushrik’ [“polytheist”] and repeatedly asked me to sell them my house.”

Majid added, “They wanted to buy the house for a cheap price. It cost around $180,000. They wanted to buy it for only $100,000. I refused to sell my house in 2013. Months later, they threatened to kill me or hurt my mother.”

These threats scared Majid, but he did not report them to the police. He said, “I was afraid. When did the police ever protect the citizens? The militia might have discovered I called the police, and they would have killed me.”

Majid said the threats pushed him to evacuate his house and rent it out to a poor Iraqi family. But the militia soon threatened the tenants as well and forced them to leave the house so they could confiscate it. He added, “I found out later from my relatives that they claimed ownership of the house in the government’s real estate records and sold it. This is how I lost the house where I was born. I do not know if I will ever get it back.”

Majid did not want to reveal his real name or that of the militia that threatened him because he feared for his relatives who are still in Baghdad. He explained, “I am not the only Christian who faced such incidents. Since the fall of Baghdad in 2003, Christians have been telling their stories about loss of property and threats.”

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