ABOUT IRAQI REFUGEE STORIES
Jennifer Utz (www.jennyjo.com) is a videojournalist who has been covering the Iraqi refugee crisis since the fall of 2006. She was one of the first US-based journalists to highlight the extent of the crisis. Her first report aired on Democracy Now in February 2007. Subsequent reports aired on ABC World News Tonight, France 24, and Current TV.
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NOTE: Because refugees may fear for their personal safety or the safety of their families still in Iraq, we have received permission from each individual featured on this site. For those who requested it, we have obscured their faces.

HIBA'S STORY

Hiba and her family fled Iraq in 2003, shortly after the war began. Their family of seven was not allowed to enter Jordan, so they spent four years living in a tent in Ruwayshed, a refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Jordan.

> View Hiba's Story

 

BILAD'S STORY

Bilad is a Christian who left Iraq after receiving death threats. He fled to Jordan, but was not allowed into the country and spent 4 1/2 years in two separate refugee camps on the border of Iraq and Jordan, until he was finally resettled to another country in 2007. Throughout this time, he and his brothers fell behind in their studies and his family developed illnesses due to the poor conditions of the camp. This interview was conducted in February of 2006, at the Ruwayshed refugee camp.

> View Bilad's Story

 

MARWA'S STORY

When living conditions and security concerns in Baghdad became unbearable, Marwa left her home and sought refuge in Damascus, Syria. Unable to legally work in Syria and running out of money, she will return to Iraq. Marwa feels that if she is to die, at least she will be with family, in her homeland.

> View Marwa's Story

 

NABA'S STORY

Naba and her brother were kidnapped from the streets of Baghdad on the way home from school. They were returned to their parents after a ransom was paid. Now living in Amman, Jordan, Naba still feels afraid and worries every day about the safety of her cousins back home.

> View Naba's Story

HIND'S STORY

In Amman, Jordan, members of Hind’s family must keep constant vigil over her. Inconsolable after the kidnapping and brutal killing of her father in Baghdad, Hind has suffered severe psychological problems, even attempting suicide. “When I lost my dad...I lost my future.”

> View Hind's Story

 

Kareem

KAREEM'S STORY

Kareem is a history professor who was seriously injured when American forces bombed the University where he was working in Mosul. This interview was conducted at the Red Crescent Hospital in Amman, Jordan.

> View Kareem's Story

LAITH’S STORY

Laith was given the unimaginable task of finding his murdered father’s body in a Baghdad morgue. Searching through 350 dead bodies before he found his father’s, Laith discovered his father had been cruelly tortured. The shock caused Laith to temporarily lose his sight. Even today he struggles with vision problems.

> View Laith's Story

 

Noor

NOOR'S STORY

Sixteen year-old Noor is from a mixed Sunni-Shiite family from Basra, and is currently living in Damascus. She talks about how the Shiite militias controlled the school she attended – raping and killing girls who didn't abide by their conservative dress code.

> View Noor's Story

LAYLA'S STORY

Layla’s story is one of religious persecution. In July 2005, Layla and her family, who were living in Baghdad as members of the Sabean Mandean religion, were targeted by militias who demanded they become Muslims. Refusing to abandon their religion, Layla and her family faced horrendous consequences.


> View Layla's Story

Ahmad

AHMAD'S STORY

Ahmad worked as a translator for the US Coalition Forces in Iraq. He bonded with the Marines he was working with, and felt as if they had become a family. He left the country after a fellow translator and friend was murdered, and he began to fear for his own safety.

> View Ahmad's Story

RAWNAQ'S STORY

Rawnaq and her family left Baghdad in November 2005 for Amman, Jordan. Although grateful she can provide safety for her two children, she worries about not being able to provide the healthy food they need. With little money to live on, many days Rawnaq is unable to even provide milk to her children.

> View Rawnaq's Story

Heyfa

HEYFA'S STORY

From Basra, Heyfa is a Sunni married to a Shiite husband. She describes how one morning she woke up to find a threatening note wrapped around a bullet from the local Shiite militias on her front door, and the response she received from the local police.

> View Heyfa's Story

BASEM'S STORY

Basem is an engineer who worked for the US Coalition Forces and KBR in Iraq. He left Baghdad in 2005 after having receiving death threats aimed at his entire family. Currently living in Syria, Basem hopes this family will be resettled to another country where they can begin anew. This interview was conducted at the UNHCR processing center in Douma, Syria.

> View Basem's Story

SAHAR'S STORY

Sixteen year-old Sahar tells the story of how her father was indiscriminately killed on Christmas Day.

> View Sahar's Story