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Iraq to return religious buildings seized by Saddam

Iraq's Governing Council has decided that religious schools and houses of worship confiscated by Saddam Hussein be returned to their legitimate owners.

The council also decided that Christians and Muslims should enjoy the freedom to manage their own educational resources. The decision was made on 5 November, but has only now been made public.

The Governing Council approved Decision 87 decreeing the cancellation "of all decisions, laws and rules leading to the confiscation, closure, incorporation and annulling of the power to run colleges, mosques, institutes and schools."

The decision means the restitution of and freedom to manage colleges and schools. This decision will be incorporated into the Constitution and will guarantee the freedom to teach and run schools autonomously.

Under Saddam's regime everything was nationalised, Now freedom in education is guaranteed. Iraq, together with Jordan, are the only countries with an Islamic majority to have freedom in education.

Saddam's government abolished free schools in May 1974. The confiscation of properties occurred in March 1975. At that time there were 80 schools and colleges in existence, including 34 Christian institutions. Following the Governing Council's decision, 15 schools and colleges will be returned to Catholics.

Iraq to Return Religious Buildings Seized by Saddam (Zenit 17/12/03)

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