Thursday, September 24, 2009

Iraqi Women Escape Torture, Sexual Assault only to Find Hardships in Chicago


After all the doors been closed on in my face, I only have your door to knock on now. However, the main reason why I am writing to you is the fear and anxiety that I have these days. I'm a muslim woman from Baghdad. I was a professor teaching at University of Arts and Media at the same time I owned a media company and humanitarian organization and worked with the Iraqi congress twice . I found great pleasure in my work and I was the focus of attention from many people. Also, I was always taking care of my duties as a Muslim by reading the Quran and fasting.

One day in August 2005, I was kidnapped by unknown men and they took me to an unknown location. I was in captivity for many days however, I was severely beaten and sexually assaulted and they released me after I payed a ransom. In the same year many members of my family were killed and as a result, I decided to leave everything behind me and I fled Iraq. I was pregnant with my daughter who is with me in the US.

After that I went to Jordan,Syria and Egypt . I lived in Egypt for a few months until I gave the birth. It was a very difficult time for me and I did not have any money to buy milk for my child but thanks to god, I went to United Nations in Cairo and they took me in as a refugee. I have been here since September 20,2007.

Initially, the government and a not for profit organization paid for my rent and food but after eight months, the help I was receiving was cut in half. I started working with an Islamic school but after a couple of months they stopped paying me and they cut the Zaqaah fund. Since, the events that happened to me in Iraq my health has been getting worse day after day and it has been more than 3 months. I cannot move and walk much after having surgery 20 days ago. Unfortunately, my daughter is 3 years old and initially not one organization or mosque has tried to helped or ask me what I needed. I found help from people other than muslims, but some tried pressuring me to leave my religion and after I told them my opinion about their religion and also spoke about the strong faith I have in my religion and Islam. As a muslim, I respect their religion, as it is stated in the Holy Quran. As a result, they refused to help me anymore because I don't want to be a hypocrite and having a two faces for my people and my religion like some people do. All I'm asking is to help me and help those who are in the same situation as me and to save our religion .

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