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Iraq: Fear of 'Kurdish conspiracy' as Christian mayor dismissed

24 August 2017

Iraqi Christians fear that the recent ousting of a Christian mayor by a pro-Kurdish council is part of a Kurdish agenda to take control of northern Christian-majority towns.

Fayez Abed Jawahreh was the mayor of Alqosh, a Christian-majority town in the Nineveh plain. He was dismissed from office on 16 July by Bashar Al Kekee, the head of the Nineveh Provincial Council and a member of the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). The district of Alqosh borders the Kurdish region but is under the jurisdiction of the central government of Iraq.

Alqosh was attacked by Islamic State (IS) in 2014. Although IS never actually occupied the town, it was largely abandoned. Now, as IS have been driven back, some residents have begun to return. But having survived IS, Iraqi Christians fear that the Kurdish authorities are trying to gain permanent control of Iraqi towns they liberated.

Another Christian mayor in the region, Basim Ballo of the town of Telkaif, said he feared he could be similarly ousted and claimed that Mr Jawahreh's removal was part of a Kurdish conspiracy to get rid of any Christian in high office in the Nineveh Plain.

The Kurdish leader, President Barzani, has also scheduled a referendum on independence for 25 September - a referendum which the Iraqi government has rejected as 'unconstitutional'. Many Christians believe a strong central government in Baghdad to be preferable to Kurdish rule.

Source: Open Doors; World Watch Monitor

Please pray:

  • That Christians ousted from this region would be able to return
  • That there would be stability and peace in the region

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