Jesuits Expelled
By the Ba'ath party in 1969

The Ba'ath Party came to power in Syria on 8 March 1963 and has held a monopoly on political power since. Later that same year, the Ba'athists gained control of Iraq and ran the country on two separate occasions, briefly in 1963 and then for a longer period lasting from July 1968 until 2003. After the de facto deposition of President Saddam Hussein’s Ba'thist regime in the course of the 2003 Iraq War, the invading US army banned the Iraqi Ba'ath Party in June 2003.

In 1968, the Baathist coup drastically changed the country's political landscape. Private schools, Muslim and Jesuit alike, were nationalized (as had been done a decade earlier in Syria). Rejecting the pleas of Muslim professors at Baghdad University, the Baathist government - and the first government of Iraq to do so - seized Al-Hikma University and ordered the Al-Hikma Jesuits out of Iraq in November 1968. The government subsequently took control of Baghdad College on August 24, 1969 and gave the remaining 33 Jesuits three days to leave Iraq. In total, 145 Jesuits worked at Baghdad College. Five are buried next to the school's chapel, land that still belongs to the Society of Jesus. Baghdad College has remained a public institution since the Jesuit expulsion, and has retained its elite status.

"Between 1555 and 1931 the Society of Jesus [i.e., the Jesuit Order] was expelled from at least 83 countries, city states and cities, for engaging in political intrigue and subversion plots against the welfare of the State, according to the records of a Jesuit priest of repute [i.e., Thomas J. Campbell]. Practically every instance of expulsion was for political intrigue, political infiltration, political subversion, and inciting to political insurrection." (1987) J.E.C. Shepherd (Canadian historian)

2006.10.14 23:18