BOSTON — When a rock with a death threat wrapped around it was thrown into her house in Baghdad, Saba Al Khadady, 31, and her family knew is was time to leave Iraq.
The threat, which said “either you leave or will die,” prompted Al Khadady and her family to pack their bags and head to Syria.
Their journey, which began in August 2004, is representative of the journey made by countless Iraqi refugees, who have fled Iraq following the invasion by American and British troops.
Now, after the official end to the war on December 15, the International Rescue Committee states 3 million Iraqis are displaced “and tens of thousands of others in danger because they worked for the U.S. military.”
In the years following the March 2003 invasion, crime against religious and ethnic minorities has skyrocketed.
Al Khadady, who is part of the Mandean religious minority, says she believes her religion might have been the cause behind the violence against her family.
She is not alone. Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American activist against the occupation, says, “Everybody in Iraq knows somebody that has died or been killed, and pretty much every facet of life has deteriorated.”
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“Besides that [the death threat], things happened and a lot of people were kidnapped and killed, so it was not safe to stay there,” says Al Kahadady. Moving to Syria was a logical step for her family to ensure their safety.