Modesto woman’s documentary about Assyrian refugees in Iraq goes viral

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The Modesto Bee
Suzan Younan holds Suzan, whose cousins and sister were abducted by the Islamic State and sold as sex slaves. Suzan escaped and lives in a makeshift tent along the street in Dohuk, Iraq. COURTESY OF SUZAN YOUNAN — Special to The Modesto Bee
A Modesto woman’s short documentary about Assyrian refugees in Iraq has been viewed about 100,000 times since being posted online less than two weeks ago.
Suzan Younan took an 11-day humanitarian trek this September to northern Iraq, where Assyrian Christians have been forced from their villages by Muslim extremists known as the Islamic State.

“There is recurring religious and ethnic cleansing in Iraq,” said Younan, who is part of the San Joaquin Valley’s large Assyrian immigrant community. “It’s a modern-day genocide happening, and no one really gives a damn.”

To broaden awareness about Islamic State persecution of Assyrians and others who refuse to convert to Islam, Younan worked with a film crew to document the desperate conditions of those left homeless since last summer.

Suzan Younan hands out supplies during her trek to northern Iraq.COURTESY OF SUZAN YOUNAN — Special to The Modest

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