Religious Minorities find Protection in Southern Iraq

In the province of Maysan, the Om al-Ahzan ("Mother of Sorrows") Church, founded in 1880, is considered one of the oldest churches in the southern region. It was renovated in the 1990s.

Jalal Daniel, the head of the Christian community in Maysan, confirmed to Al-Monitor, “They were promised that the church would be reconstructed and renovated by the local government as soon as the financial crisis experienced by the local and central government quiets.”

Amar Francis, a Christian resident of Wasit, told the press Dec. 25 in Kut, north of Baghdad, “The provincial council adopted a plan to allocate a plot of land for the building of a church after the necessary approval was obtained upon the initiative of the human rights organization.”

Cleric Ali al-Tai told Al-Monitor that this tolerance “stems from the spread of moderate Islam in those areas, where takfiri thoughts subside.” Mutual respect for religious beliefs as well as the reconstruction of old houses of worship and building of new ones have turned central and southern Iraq into exemplary areas in spreading the spirit of tolerance, cooperation and freedom across Iraq.

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