Pope’s Nuncio in Iraq: Half of Christians have been able to return home

He says some who have found their homes occupied by other Muslim families have lent them the house as a gesture of reconciliation.

After the fall of Isis in Iraq, many Christians who escaped to the Nineveh plain have been able to return to their homes. There are about 40,000 people. According to the pope’s nuncio in Iraq, the situation they are facing is very hard.

MSGR. ALBERTO ORTEGA
Pope’s Nuncio in Iraq
There is still much to be done, much to rebuild. The houses were damaged, burned or destroyed. But now almost half of the Christians, in some places, who had left their homes, have been able to return.

The nuncio says these Christians are setting a great example as promoters of forgiveness and reconciliation, which is what the country needs most in order to regain stability. He remembers the story of a Christian family who, after they returned home, found other people living inside.

MSGR. ALBERTO ORTEGA
Pope’s Nuncio in Iraq
The house, then, had been occupied by Muslims, a family with many children, in great need. So they told them, ‘You can stay for now, we are not coming back yet. You need the house and we leave it for you.’ The Muslim family were moved, they embraced them and thanked them.

The pope’s representative remembers that many Christians prayed for the people who had persecuted them, and that now many Muslims who saw what had happened were moved.

MSGR. ALBERTO ORTEGA
Pope’s Nuncio in Iraq
It is a precious example and the Muslims themselves ask questions: We have thrown them out, we have treated them badly, but now when we need them, they help us. It is a precious testimony of the victory of love and forgiveness over war and violence.

After a few days of work in Rome, he returns to Baghdad with a message from the pope: he prays every day for the Christians of Iraq, also that they will remain in their homeland, because a Middle East without Christians would be a different reality.