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Iraqi who fled with his family longs to get to ‘a place that’s safe’

Iraqi family

Forced out: Nafee Abd Almaseeh and his wife Trazia Marzina pose with their family on October 28 in the small section of a church hall in Amman, Jordan, where they now sleep after fleeing Qaraqosh, Iraq.
Photo: CNS/Barb Fraze

NAFEE Abd Almaseeh and his wife Trazia Marzina spend their days hoping for resettlement.

They want help to get to “a place that’s safe”, Mr Almaseeh said.

In June, he and his family left Qaraqosh, Iraq, with just their clothes and passports. Before the Islamic State group bombed their home, the militants cut water and electricity for 15 days.

The family fled to Irbil, Iraq, where they lived in tents in streets outside churches. The Catholic Church helped get them visas and transport them by airplane to Jordan. Now the family lives in the activity hall of the Armenian Catholic Church of Our Lady’s Assumption.

Other families live there, too; boards and curtains about 1.2m high divide their small living spaces. Every day, family members go to Mass at the church, but they cannot take the grandchildren outside the church compound, because they have no money.

“It’s like a jail, but it’s open,” one family member said.

Mr Almaseeh’s English was limited, and his hands trembled as he showed reporters a small scroll with photos of three popes and the Vatican; he carried it and his rosary with him.

Christians “built this civilisation”, and now they were being forced out, he said of his home country.

CNS

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