Iraqi refugee coming to ?R not to return home out of fear

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Smilovice, North Moravia, Feb 25 (CTK) – Maya, a 46-year-old woman from Iraq who is one of the Christian refugees whom the Czech Republic has accepted, does not plan to return to her homeland anymore because she is afraid of further violence, she told Czech journalists.
“We will never return home again,” said Maya who arrived in the Czech Republic last weekend with her husband Nael and their adolescent son.

Maya said the society in Iraq did not want them there. She said she feared that a still worse regime might come after the Islamic State group.

Maya and Nael lost many relatives and friends in the last few years. Their son was shot and the bullet is still in his body.

Nael, 54, is a carpenter. He built a house that cost the family a lot of money, but finally they had to leave it.

The Iraqi army retreated and Islamic State fighters were getting nearer and nearer to the town in which the family lived. However, the family remained even though bombing could be heard and even after woman and two children from their neighbourhood were killed, Nael said.

But when the IS fighters got into the town and shooting began in the streets, Nael decided to flee with his wife and son, he said, adding that even in the church they were told that Christians should leave the town.

More than one year ago, the family got to Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital city, where they stayed in a roofless shelter along with other 400 refugees in bad conditions. After five months their situation improved as they got a camper van. Nael was already seeking to get into the Czech Republic then.

Nael said the only thing the family wanted was to be safe. He expressed thanks to the Czech nation.

Maya, Nael and their son are among 14 Iraqi Christians who are staying in Smilovice where they started learning the Czech language and getting acquainted with the country. Further several families are to arrive in the next days.

Nibras, 24, and Marwan, 28, arrived with their children, three-year-old son Samir and two-year-old daughter Massara, in the Czech Republic with the first group of Iraqi Christians in late January. The first part of their integration process takes place in Okrouhlik near Jihlava, south Moravia, where several refugee families are temporarily staying. The families would be granted asylum and receive permanent accommodation.

The young couple said their life was hard in Iraq. They were persecuted, had to move several times and were witnesses of violence and killings, Nibras and Marwan said.

“Our children had no future,” Nibras said.

The resettlement of 37 Iraqi Christian families has been organised by the Generation 21 endowment. The project was approved by the government.