Home » Events » Restoring Hope in Iraq for Persecuted Christians and Other Religious Minorities

Restoring Hope in Iraq for Persecuted Christians and Other Religious Minorities

        Special Eyewitness Briefing:
Restoring Hope in Iraq for Persecuted Christians and Other Religious Minorities
Sister Diana Momeka
December 7, 2016

Eyewitness Dominican Sister Diana Momeka, during a hearing before Congress in 2015, testified: “Uprooted and forcefully displaced, we have realized that ISIS’s plan is to evacuate the land of Christians and wipe the earth clean of any evidence that we ever existed.” Sr. Diana’s own convent was destroyed by ISIS. She and Syriac Catholic Father Behnam Benoka founded and run the Humanitarian Nineveh Relief Organization in Iraqi Kurdistan where they provide crucial health services and humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced families in and around Erbil. Today, many of the ancient villages have been liberated from ISIS, but the majority of homes, churches, building and infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. As ISIS retreats, their goal is to restore hope for those who have survived. Sister Diana shared personal stories of ISIS’ campaign of genocidal acts throughout her homeland. She speak about the future of Christianity and other religious minorities in Iraq, the current humanitarian crisis and the urgent need to support the population.

Sr. Diana was displaced from her hometown Qaraqosh, where she taught English since 2013, by ISIS on August 6, 2014. She has also taught at St. Ephrem Seminary in Qaraqosh and the Baghdad Academy for Human Science. She received a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Transcript:

Robert R. Reilly:

I want to acknowledge the presence here tonight of Bishop Julian Dobbs, who is an office mate here and associated with Barnabas Aid, which is one of the premier organizations to help persecuted Christians. You’ll see information out there on it and I also want to point out that there are several leaflets on the table about Sister Diana’s organization of the Nineveh Relief- Nineveh Relief Organization. I just want to point out for those of you who saw earlier invitations that Father panocha was not able to come because of an emergency that arose in northern Iraq not unfortunately an infrequent thing please join me in turning off your cell phone ringer and now I have the pleasure of telling you that we have the honor of having Congressman Frank wolf to introduce our guest tonight you all know Congressman wolf from his 17 terms in the U.S. Congress we’re in the House of Representatives he was known as the conscience of the House and the greatest champion of religious freedom and against the persecution of Christians. Even today his good work there continues because Chris Smith has a bill before Congress now, the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. Please join me in welcoming Congressman Wolf.

Congressman Frank Wolf:

Thank Sister Diana for taking the time to come to visit us here in the United States in a very difficult time that was just a week or two ago she explained where her village was liberated from the control of Isis. Sister Diana runs a camp over in a very difficult region. Sister Diana runs two clinics where they treat roughly 300 people every every single day. Sister Diana runs a series of kidney gardens for full for young people and they do so many other really very important thing in a very difficult area and interesting enough all of the nuns that sister Diana work would speak Aramaic the same language as as Jesus. Before the war broke out there were 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq. Today, the number is anywhere from 250,000 or some say only 200,000 there is a saying in the Middle East for society people and then the Sunday people the Saturday people the Jewish community in 1948 the population of the Jewish community in Iraq was a hundred and forty eight thousand when I was in Iraq I said how many Jewish people are living here and they said Mr. wolf maybe about ten elderly individuals and one person said it may only be four. More biblical activity took place in Iraq than any other country other than Israel. Abraham our Daniel Byrd in Iraq is eco bird in Iraq Isis blew up Jonah’s tomb about a year a year and a half ago and a group called aid to the church in need put out a notice of a couple weeks ago where they said as a result of this Exodus Christianity is on course to disappear from Iraq within possibly five five years and first John 3:17 18 it says but if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against them how does God’s love abide to him let us not love in Word or speech but in deed or in truth and Dr. King said in that speech the Birmingham jail speech you said in the end we will remember not the words over enemies but we’ll remember the silence of our our friends and German Lutheran pastor anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer his solace in the face of evil is evil itself not to speak is a speaking not to act in that it’s the act so hopefully by sister Diana’s visit and your coming here we in the United States will speak but will also act in order to save Christianity in the cradle Christendom and in the process also the Yazidis and the other religious minorities who were going through a very difficult time they give you somebody who I think frankly will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize sister Diana.

Sister Diana:

Just to say a word about Mr. wolf. He is – Mr. Wolf – is the one who introduced the world to our plight. It was in 2014 August 6 where Isis driven us out of our homes in the middle of the night and during that time it was the the Gaza events too and there was nothing in the news international news at all about the entire Nineveh plane that was forced to leave by Isis nothing covered in the media and previously I have met Mr. robot his office with my prior sister Maria Hannah so I said to a friend of mine who works for summer tempers I need to do something I need to get our voice someplace far he said who do you want I said I want to reach mr. wolf because I know he has the passion he can’t talk about this he said ok I know friends who is gonna connect me to him believe it or not it was I think August 13th 12 or 13 they connected me to mr. wolf they called me from his office is the sister Diana this is just mr. wolf is like yes I told him this is what’s happening he said really and he promised me to come but during his office he was not able for some reason but he said sister Diana I promise you as soon as I retired I will be there the first week believe it or not the first week of January mr. wolf was in our bill you know I feel that God’s God was with us when he sent mr. wolf he came people loved him so much because I feel that we were supported he came with Marty he came with a group of old buffers with LuAnn no not the one it was at least and Elijah so he came with us he said I wanna see we took him to the camps to see the situation of the Christians what was happening to them after he came back he was on the media and people started contacting us we want to see how can we help so thank you for that thank you so much really and I’m here because of him and Marty – they kept saying you should come I said I’m not coming this tired like yes you should come and one word from him made me come he said this is an Easter moment and it just you know stayed in my heart and reflected on it thanks for that I’m not sister Diana here. I represent my congregation the Dominican Sisters of st. Catherine I represent every Christian in Iraq. Don’t look at me as sister Diana no I’m every Christian in Iraq who has been persecuted who has been driven out of their homes in no time you have not maybe heard the story maybe you’ve read some of you know the stories from media watched media or newspaper but to live the reality is completely different completely when we heard of Isis in Syria we thought this is not going to happen to us it’s only you know across the border in other country we’ve never expected this going to happen but on August 3rd when Isis got to Sinjar and – bye chica and then start moving slowly and people start leaving we’ve thought it’s not that dangerous but then we realized Isis group the Islamic State of Iraq and sham it’s not an easy group it’s start getting all the minorities so it started with Mosul when they started asking people you have three choices otherwise you live to convert to Islam to pay Algeria or you know or you live or will kill you so of course because of our faith most of us we chose to follow our Savior than to stay and convert to Islam by force you know the journey wasn’t easy at all when we left people start living in my hometown that’s called karakash early from 10 o’clock because there was a fighting on the border between Isis and the army so people were afraid that their kids could get hurt so they start living for us as a church we made sure not to live because we are responsible for people until 11 p.m. we saw that the danger was approaching us so we were told you should live because Isis is very close we made sure that most people has left already and we were almost the last people that to live down unfortunately few that they were asleep they could not feel the danger so we had over than 300 hostages and there Isis that we they were able to we were able to liberate them step by step but we still have a few left under their control their captivity so how did we live away from our homes it’s not those days were very difficult and Marty mr. wolf when they came they saw Christians they are you know the creator of civilization we built the civilized civilization in Iraq we have been in Iraq from first century when Saint Thomas passed by through Iraq and his disciples that the day and Mary so that when we be we were Christians from first century so we were not the second citizen people that we came after no and during from the seventh century with experienced persecutions from the south of Iraq and then Christian were driven in the 7th century to the middle of Iraq and now in the 12 in the 21st century we were driven from the middle of Iraq into the up north of Iraq and we don’t know what’s lost stage is going to be mr. wolf said it well that Christians were 1 million point five in Iraq and then now there are 200,000 maybe in five years there will be zero Christians in Iraq so the cradle of Christianity could die in Iraq and this is this is very critical are we gonna let Christianity die in Iraq? Why would die because we don’t feel safe anymore our homes when Isis took our homes we thought okay it’s going to be a while and we’re gonna go back and we’re gonna continue our life but apparently what happened we waited for liberation for over two and a half years during these two and a half years I would say if it wasn’t the Western Church and the U.S. and in the Europe Christian could not survive lots of NGOs international NGOs that they came supported us with food and non-food items they helped us to move from tents into containers into and some organization that helped with renting homes where four or five families living in one home now we have over than 1,200 families are living and container about 6,000 people the rest are living in homes rented homes that imagine if you have went home in each room there’s a family living so there’s no privacy there is nothing like children cannot study because they don’t have their own room that’s one thing the other thing is education has been interrupted for our children because during these two and a half years we didn’t have a school we didn’t have curriculum we have teachers our children want to go to school so we are used to education because we feel education nourishes us helps us to build the culture to continue to be strong so the first few months we organized we rented homes we rented homes we found every empty building we started education there because we did not want our children to be without education for college students we have over done four thousand college students they have no place to go then they got hosted in Kirkuk some went to the heart some stayed without the school so that’s why we start worrying about the future of Christians what’s next if we cannot get proper education if we cannot feel safe where we are what’s next the other thing is health care you know because all the infrastructure in our home you know we’re looted and destruct district destroyed the capacity where we were in in the core distance region we’re talking about over than 120,000 people is not easy to go to a different town so to cover everything so that was another problem where people should go and that’s where we started as Church all together working some they took care of education some they took care of it took health care some they took care of humanitarian aid so we kind of divided our work so our people could you know have this hope the reason that the church has been working so hard because we did not want a people to live but lots of families have left when after one month second month they found there’s no future in Iraq for them however we were praying so hard that liberation will take a place we’re gonna go back so but but the big shock for us was when liberation took a place we were so happy we’re gonna go back to see our churches to see our homes to see whatever we have left but what do you think we have so you have no idea we thought okay they might be our homes might be looted that’s fine okay we’ll work hard with furnish them we’ll start with the life but it wasn’t like that it’s ISIS showed who they are and even I see what they did it’s not the act of human beings at all even beasts do not do things like that as soon as we entered our villages and towns the first thing we saw they have burned more than half of the town’s burn them badly and I’m gonna show you some photos they looted them there is no house left with stuff on it at all with furniture they’ve taken everything they wanted everything they destroyed them they destroyed so many some it has been straight through the airstrike some by bombs the other thing and you know the worst thing is to enter into your house and you find tunnels dug in your house that is you know they’re measured 5 2 X 7 meters or 10 meters you won’t believe it and these tunnels are connected to somewhere else and other villages you keep walking they’re like they’re one of the tunnels discovered this 222 kilometers that reach to Musel otherwise there are some some they are you won’t believe me but they are the size of this room the size of this room so if we are asked do you want to go back this is our land this is where we grew up this is where we worship this is where we got educated this is where you know we have every beautiful memory do do we want to go back yes but the question will be how could we go back if things are destroyed burned place is not totally secure who would take his kids into a house that has a tunnel right so I think now Christians are more afraid than before because everything they have they count on does not exist anymore and it’s not only that the big shock for me was when I entered my family’s house it was completely burnt and he said okay I just wanted something that ISIS did not reach the cemetery can you believe even the cemetery did not survive from them they opened the graves at one village called careless there was a crops of one of the priests they took his skeleton and hang it in the town and some are missing they let the grave open their bodies are missing in my hometown when I visited the cemetery the church is all put down there’s nothing on the church all like you just it’s all rubbish you don’t see anything the tombs are open all so I’ve said ok you’ve destroyed the houses you’ve destroyed because we did not stay this is the kind of adventure you know you’re due paying us but what did the death do to you I mean I think these are not the acts of human beings I was watching a report on discovery showing even the wild animals do not do that they do have some mercy in their heart but to see this kind of thing never I don’t think humanity has experienced this business of human beings it’s it’s really really bad and I can show you this is Immaculate Conception Church this is considered one of the biggest Church in the Middle East completely burnt what happened they collected all the benches there were over than 3,000 benches burn them so you see and the chemical element that they have used it like when something burns ok the smell goes after a few days after one month you cannot even breathe when you get into the church because the kind of the chemical that has been used they still under tests we don’t know but some they call it like this they used this for some others they use some other chemicals that is really dangerous for the environment til health so this in karakash yes Immaculate Conception Church so the main concern for us is the environmental health how can we go back if you know most of like I would say if 60% of the houses have been burned like this 60% and about maybe 35% has been destroyed and the rest it’s you know between looted and destroyed so this is the church this is the church important you don’t see that because it’s all black is the same thing they burnt everything inside it even the floor you see it has you know the piles have lifted because of the some day say the fire was about three and four days actually this thing did not they did not burn it like last year or year before just before the liberation they collected so many tires when we entered our hometown my hometown and others you see tires along the way hundreds and hundreds of tires of you know cars and trucks tires so when we entered to this church honestly we could not breathe at all – so you can’t see and this church was renovated in 2005 I believe this is one as well and if you see how did they break all the crosses you don’t see any cross left on this on any Church at all even at her and you know in our houses when we they have never left no like no picture of Our Lady no crosses nothing at all besides they they have writings you a crusader we’re gonna kill you and this is your end and you know they’ve written so many thread you know thing on our walls and our homes and in the churches as well this is some of the destruction this is Umberto la actually the town of Bert Allah this is the chapel in our convent Umberto la see if you see they’ve you know try to break the clothes they if they did not destroy it or burn it take you know they looted and kind of took whatever is value in there and this building is the city council building it’s right in front of our convent you as you see there’s nothing left apparently a day before the liberation according to eyewitness that there was a huge truck filled with bombs you know so damn is this building as well as it damaged our convent totally this is one of the writing at our church st. John’s Church it says you know what they say in the name of God the merciful mercy Islamic state will will stay against the Alliance the Crusader it’s like you know even there there herb ik is not correct yeah I mean we have time breathing and yeah it says state with you know with the blood of the you know the those who Mujahideen as we call it those who kill him themselves this is our convent where what I left so it’s not only destroyed when we entered into our rooms nothing has been left at all I lived in the U.S. and I had at least 300 books I I wasn’t said at anything I lost just for my books when I entered like what did it do with my with our books and everything we have what happened was there’s a square you know at the church where they took all the books that we have and they burned it to blur the vision of the airstrikes when they were you know fighting this is my family’s house you can see there’s no window there’s no doors there’s nothing so that was my first time getting into the house is like you know I didn’t know Charlotte loud I feel sad kind of you know your feelings is like you don’t know what to feel at all you get known and most of the houses are like this I want are burned so when we are when they ask us you want to go back ok yes shall my dad live in this house how first of all is not healthy second it’s gonna need to be renovated but it’s not easy to renovate it because the material that has been used so you cannot just peel it and paint it you have to take it all down and start a new house so if the families with low income or most of the families because they left and left everything behind and they barely can survive how they can go back if they don’t find help however if there is no secure number one how can we go back the truth is who did this to us was not only ISIS was our neighbors the surrounded areas and so many documents were founded so many documents names and from eyewitnesses to women who survived and they found them when the liberation happened so one of them said they were asking me where’s the house of this man and that man those people who used to come to our schools you know to our health care system where we treated them. They are the same people who turned against us and looted our homes and burnt them and destroyed it and turned tickets how can we trust them again? It’s impossible you know no matter what you do it’s impossible. So many stories told by people who are living in Mosul. The neighbor will say to his a Christian neighbor you should leave now because I want to take your home. If you don’t live I’m gonna kill you, so people- and they did not let them take any belongings with them. They left with nothing, so how can we go and live in Mosul again with our neighbor who said leave? How can we live with our neighbors who were living with us in Qaraqosh and surrounding area and Berthillon in current list and go live with them again? It’s hard. It’s hard to again that trust anymore. If you notice in this church see the tower totally destroyed and the they broke the crosses we have eight churches in only Qaraqosh interval if you see there they are in terrible condition terrible burnt looted the profit has been taken down besides that is not only that what they did is they used the church square as a targeting to training children training their men how to kill this is how they desecrated our churches you see yes yesterday was Monday sorry through CBN they came to Iraq and we went to Caracas for eight hours Chris Mitchell has did really a nice segment about everything that happened he showed everything that happened so it’s online on Facebook CBN so it gives more details about how the destruction took place and you see the houses you see it like oh this is really simple but as you see my family’s house when I saw this like I said this is really easy we can’t fix it but when you get get inside you see it’s totally destroyed even the fans are melted this is the tower but when we were there I don’t know sometimes I love to see signs of hope we cannot lose hope right if you notice Watson we were up and I saw that the vision standing there like wow you know this tells something this tells something God is always present and when the Holy Spirit descended to Christ it was through you know like a dog and that was a sign for me honestly as a sister as a believer I found it as a sign of hope so I do pray I do pray that tower will be rebuilt again I do pray that the church will be glorified again with the prayers a mass was set right after the liberation in the midst of the burning and you know all that destruction the bishop and people went and celebrated Mass there to bring the Spirit of God after that church was the tested this is the one of the tunnels one of the tunnels see how deep it is and this is you know this is in college there’s a shrine same Barbara shrine they have four of them they are so deep that they tried to close them it’s impossible because they are huge this one I don’t know they said it was 4×6 I think or seven when I looked at it I got dizzy and what they did when they did this one they took all the you know what you call it the dirt and closed the rest of the you know the shrine and the we have volunteers they worked for 15 days taking the dirt out of the you know the shrine and they broke half of the tomb of Saint Barbara and that try and belongs to centuries ago I don’t have the date exactly but it’s so all that’s on a small tell a small hell hell so I mean this is dangerous what we think ok people want a worship but we don’t know how safe these tunnels will be only in courage they discovered up to now 100 ton ELLs they have not gone to one house to another yet so what kind of things were gonna you know see there besides see this is the church how they you know actually they bumped the tower and they break the crews broke the crows but what happened when we went the first thing you know the soldiers and PU the you know Miniver protection unit with the army they went the first thing they made and with the priest they were priests with them when they went to see the situation they put the cross because this is a worse sign you know so they put that cross there to say that life will come back to down hopefully these are the markets where people used to make livelihood for their lives all of them along this street all has been burned looted some destroyed I could not include all the pictures and some destroyed so how could people now go back if they have nothing left in there always they have been asking this question this is the square of the church see how they made it the target you know secure for them and they destroyed it really it’s when you see it it was so beautiful and now all what you see it’s rubbish in this area there’s about 15 houses that has been totally destroyed next to this house there is a woman who is my friend when she was in Jordan she could not live in Jordan she loves her home a lot that she said I’m coming back before the liberation and four days I believe and after the liberation when they posted photos she saw her home has been airstrike she went back I mean her story is so moving she looked around she said some people came back they could find a photo as a memory for there anything that could really she said I could not get in and find a photo that can remind me of my entire family all what to remind me she took a stone from her house and said this is us a memory for what it has been left from my house so there are lots of stories of people coming back with a broken heart imagine you have a beautiful mansion and when you go back you don’t see it just you see you know rubbish or gravel so and the problem is you know for us as a Christians we’ve never lived in tents or we’re educated people like people you see doctors you see lawyers you’ll see engineers you see teachers just all kinds of people you know educated, so when you see this down you don’t believe that, you know, you say this is a message to tell. Go away. This is not your land. I mean how could you give it? Can you give it another analysis for me? I can because I come from that area. When I walk in our street this is this message that I got from them. Otherwise, who I would do that with? Why would they do this? You know, there’s no other explanation. For two and a half years we left the town. We thought it’s going to be fine, but apparently no, so now the shop people are more traumatized, more shocked as we left in 2014. Anyway, so that was a part of- I just want to show you how ISIS affected us by not leaving anything for us you know fine from material things they are trying to get into our faith right when they do this they try to get us but I see people still have faith people continue to have hope so many they say if we get help we’ll go back when rebuilt and so many they are going back to clean their homes trying to you know do what they can but it’s not easy to take this step now if things are not clear when the liberation happened we found so many things we found clothes that in each house families would say this is not our clothes so there were apparently strangers living there who they were we can and identify now there are so many evidence for things that were not supposed to be in our town in some places they found some families found their homes has been turned into a factory of weapons some they found bodies parts of bodies there so there are so many things in our towns and villages and our DA in some homes as you know there were 3,000 TG these women missing we don’t know if they were there or not so there are a missing puzzle there that we need to find the pieces but we cannot find them by ourselves we’re gonna need help to find those pieces and put them together I believe so three things that we really need for this we’re gonna need security for Christians to save the cradle Christianity in Iraq if they don’t feel secure they cannot go back and they want really they won’t feel secure and take their children if they don’t have something you know as tangible to tell them you’re gonna be fine we’re kind of you’re gonna be safe second to live in such an environment it’s not healthy at all even if it’s rebuilt third all the evidence need to be examined I think to see what happened you know we have the right to know what happened for our towns and villages and our churches our homes our Institute’s our hospitals everything that we worked so hard those homes families work 20 30 years to build it there was a teacher he got into his house was totally burned he said my student so so I taught them burned my house that took me 30 years build-it how would you react to such a story this is one of them or a widow who stands in front of her house with her children crying this is all what I have what should I do now so I think this is or I do believe this is a very difficult time for us we’re gonna need lots of support more than before the disciplined this is this is the time that we do need help how it’s not easy to say many people want to go back some they don’t feel they want to go back they want to find a better future for their children for themselves as church we try to do the best that we can to keep people hopeful to keep ourself hopeful and believe that since one of Jesus Christ disciples went through that land we feel that Jesus wants that spirit to continue in that land how can we keep it we ask our question our selves this question every single day the church and Sunday you see them filled with people praying calling to God for protection for safety for strong faith how long did this would last you know one trauma after another one persecution after another how much can a human being carry you know we earn for a normal life we don’t live a normal life and we cannot say we do not live a normal life I think since I was born I’ve never experienced a normal if Iran were sanction you go for us war and the worst of all Isis and what ISIS is is that people that they did this I think it’s more it’s about the ideology children that they are coming from Mosul that they have elaborated. One of the children said they were he was us what did you learn at school what do you think and master class he was taught one dead body plus one dead body equaled two dead bodies. One bullet plus one bullet equals two bullets. The infidels in Arabic the class in Arabic I didn’t post it here I have it assess the infidels deserved to be slaughtered this is an Arabic class. So if you teach your children this how do how would they grow up? And at the end of each curriculum there is a weapon a gun or some kind of, so we need to think deeply who ISIS is. Is it a few people that they came and did this destruction and left or is it two and a half years our I think it’s a long period to teach children to do lots of things right at school from six years to twelve years, so this is the age where you can plant things in the mind of children and they never get it out because they think this is what they believe it so if one bullet plus one bullet is equal to God help us god help us and this is not only happening in Iraq it could happen everywhere we where the victim we are the victim but we don’t know you know we hear all over the Europe in many places lots of turmoil is happening so we need the question of ourself now are we safe who it is we tested suffering bitterness and all kinds of things will continue to be strong because we do believe God has been journeying with us in each day and each minute and this is how from first day I would like to tell you about our work as Church as the many consist earth we thought the first thing we can do is open kinder-gardens open schools so this way we can educate our children to continue have faith to continue to believe in life believing life is the key to love so this is what we started doing we opened the school we open for kinder-gardens we continued it to be with people at the camps day by day do the worship with them celebrate Mass do catechism we did first communion as Catholics each we have two terms in summer we have over than 700 children in each year we try to do all kinds of things why because we thought this is how we can strengthen what we have you know so we still working with our community as Church in general to what we did just you heard her father bhinneka and I there were hundreds of people at the camp sick they don’t know where to go no hospitals nothing so there was a mother’s tent there with the tent we started a small unit for medical health we divided into different parts and then someone came doctor said can we volunteer I said sure and looked we don’t have medicine I said father beocca let me go I’m back I’m a Dominican I’m a beggar that’s what son Dominic was was a bigger you know this is who I am you know I follow my founder that was his spirituality I went to pharmacies I said listen where we were just disciplines we don’t have can you help me so he got small back with the widow spurt that’s what I call our clinic how we started with a widow spurt and believe it or not with that small tent and with the small amount of medicine God blessed us with so many and then someone came to me was friend of Kevin his name’s Matthew now hurry he said sister how can I help you it’s like wow we need medicine we need so-and-so and Samaritan purse start helping us right away and then my typical mission they came. They said, “how can we help?” I start helping and some other organization and that’s how our clinic, you know, start growing we start seeing people between 700 to 800 per day and then as I said God blessed us we became an organization that’s named you’re gonna see in the brochure human we called it a Humanitarian Nineveh Organization that was recognized officially in November of 2015 we call it because we it’s not only for Christian but it’s all for all minorities we reach out for all minorities and it’s open for everyone so we have done projects with the cities those are real CDs that they are living it’s kind of it’s aslam hundreds of years Edy’s are living so we tried to get them food and non-food items and this is our clinic as i said it we started with a modest tent and then you know it started growing growing and someday you visit that you’re gonna see lots of you no longer sets you know donated by so each Caravan is donated by some organization we had German organization French organization so see this accumulate cool things like really really I said like God sent people from all over the places we received people from all over the world they come to see our work and then they see what kind of work is they support and this is how we have been able to continue our work serving thousands of people every single month like each month which the number of you know patients reaches to six to seven and eight thousand we open two clinics and we are you know we’re doing projects we’re to help youth we were doing some music you know training doing English courses because some of our youth that they don’t have anything to do so we see like education is a weapon for us so this is how we educate our children we’re trying to do workshops for them so that’s what it’s a small organization but I believe that small things makes a big difference and this is how I see things and you know from a different perspective Cardinal Donald visited us last year and we were so blessed that you know because kanaeva has been supporting us very much so they’d like to see our work and we were so blessed that you know he came and saw our work and blessed it as well this is another clinic in a town that’s away from Erbil about 20 minutes they’re about at this complex about 1200 families 80% are Muslim 28% are Christians so you see I mean we receive all kinds of page so the the clinic is opened this open door for everyone we reach out for cafes as well we see like what their needs are doing summer during winter so we do the humanitarian work and this is the clinic in and Kawa what we do it’s not only like we do the primarily care for it like and but we have kinds of you know we expand we started only with the can ecologist and interest internist and then as I said God blessed us we have ultrasound department we have flat department dentist dental department the pharmacy pediatrician so ok it’s like you know you feel that the widow spurt was not only one part but God has blessed it so much and I do believe with small things we can do lots of things and this is how I say it doesn’t have to be too big with every penny we were able to help a family that’s why sometimes I say sometimes people would say sister we don’t have much to give you I say a penny makes the difference to us it does honestly it does now one of the things okay so this is how our life is about you know every single day people now they are under a question what shall we do if you have any questions people before Isis they used to own mansions that you know worth of million dollars they owned so much and you know they owned houses they own cars they own business we didn’t have poor people or any homeless at all the pool one could get by with easiness you know if they were not employees they have you know their own business so life was really really good for us and we were living very I would say despite of everything we were living in luxury as a questions like we used to work hard so we used to have everything we wanted people were getting married were spending two three days in party they were traveling they were working hard but after Isis you know because we left with nothing we left with only our clothes so we didn’t have people could not restart again there is hope that if we go back people are so resilient they can work they can start they can rebuild that town and to be better than it was before but they’re gonna need help they cannot do it by themselves yes Oh answer the second question unfortunately we don’t were hoping to expand as I said we knew we just started on August 9th of 2014 to respond to the immediate emergency and then as you know the number of refugees in Erbil there are over than 120,000 and as I said there are lots of Yazidis lots of Syrian come to actually we have employees and know that they are Syrian that they are working with us too so we’re hoping we’re hoping to reach out but that’s gonna need points it’s going to need help so as I say we get day by day so hopefully we pray that someday we’re going to reach out to Syria and other places as well where there are critical you know situation and where they need help most when I grew up I grew up with you know I grew up in Baghdad one of our neighbors were Sunni and the other Shia and I was about 14 15 years I’ve never knew who they were they were senior sherry I know they were our neighbors who were Muslim that we left you know and peace with them so I’ve never experienced to be independent as a Christian so we always have the sense of community so I really if there’s a discussion about that I can’t comment on that because I think this is on a higher level than me because all what I do is a humanitarian work I don’t get into things like that I’d rather to become on spiritual and human Tyrian level than to get into other you know thoughts sister how can people here help I’m a bigger I’m st. Dominic’s daughter we do need your help we do need to help people that there’s something to count on we do need your help to help us to rebuild to rebuild for those who can help with security on their side they can’t do this from their angle for those who can help and rebuilding we do need your support as I said every penny counts we are hoping we are preparing projects how to revive the agriculture to create you know opportunities for livelihoods for people therefore they can work and make money and go and rebuild we have so many projects that were hoping our students to continue their schooling so I say as I say whatever your heart says that you can give please listen to your hearts every penny counts and if you can help you know Christmas is coming and always with the Christmas we feel happy in giving so yes there’s a website it’s on the paper which is www.hnroiraq.org. You can’t go to this website and it will lead you how to donate if I could add with a question that as you say an attorney important but there’s going to be a new administration here in Washington DC to look at the situation of the Christian from a new angle the cradle of Christianity in Iraq is step peering it is just as I said at the beginning from 1 million point five to two hundred what’s next so how can we help helping help the minorities to stay and as I say the Christian because I’m a Christian so to raise the awareness that the cradle of Christianity in Iraq needs help before I ask my question I just want to express my deepest apology as a Muslim Iraqi to attack you thank you please forgive us and what has happened to you is a very hot heart and every Muslim in Iraq and in the person of what should be responsible for this crime I should be ashamed my question to you is you are you’re like is more than we are you worried about before we came up to you and you got might work better than any lackeys are you going back to your villages what assurances are you seeking as mr. pop said from this administration from the international community to protect you and up let this shameful crimes have been active again again please forgive us I would say what happened to Christianity is a genocide it was declared the genocide and my message to the new administration okay it was declared what’s next how you’re going to act with the genocide Christians need to be recognized that all this happened to them it is a genocide and they need to hear it not only with words but also actions they need to see actions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email