Chaldean Church Plans To Rebuild 10 Christian Villages In Northern Iraq
The Chaldean Church in Iraq has announced plans to help Christians rebuild their lives there in spite of the ongoing threat they face.
The Catholic Herald reports that the initiative has been announced by Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil.
The idea is to help physically rebuild villages that Christians have left, to encourage internally displaced people to return.
Much of the initiative for the move is coming from the charity which supports persecuted Catholics, Aid to the Church in Need. It says that efforts to restore villages in the Nineveh Plain amount to a Marshall Plan For Iraq, calling to mind the massive reconstruction effort in western Europe after World War Two which was financed by the USA.
A spokesperson said that work was being carried out to see how much rebuilding was required. "Thousands of photographs collated with thousands of descriptions of the destruction are being gathered together with an estimation of the costs to rebuild," said Fr Andrzej Halemba. "With the help of satellite pictures the team identifies each house in each village in the Nineveh Plain recovered from ISIS. The houses we are speaking about belong to Syrian Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Chaldeans and some mixed villages as well. We are talking about some 10 villages."
Fr Halemba says it isn't just about bricks and mortar. The campaign needs to ensure legal issues are resplved too. "This includes, for example, the right to full citizenship of the Christians in Iraq and the involvement of the Iraqi government in the reconstruction."