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The Iraq Foundation is pleased to introduce our new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ms. Basma Fakri.

Working tirelessly to empower Iraqi women, support freedom and democracy in Iraq since immigrating to the US in 1982, Ms. Fakri co-founded the Women’s Alliance for a Democratic Iraq (WAFDI), an organization dedicated to a free and democratic Iraq with full and equal individual rights for women. She sat on the steering committee of the Network of Iraqi American Organizations in Michigan and was a member of the Women for a Free Iraq campaign. Ms. Fakri organized, led and managed many training sessions on women’s political participation, ending violence against women, economic empowerment and rights in Baghdad, Beirut and the US. She worked as a voter education officer and national counting officer with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) during the first Iraq out-of-country voting. Additionally, she cooperated with high-level policymakers:  addressed the UN Security Council in a closed session about women, peace, security and the role of Iraqi women in building the peace in Iraq. Ms. Fakri holds a Bachelor and a Master Degrees in Civil Engineering, and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

The Iraq Foundation condemns, in the strongest terms, the barbaric war crimes conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Iraqi men, women, and children, particularly those who are members of religious and ethnic minority groups. These activities have included mass killings of Turkomen and forced conversions amongst members of the Yazidi and Shabak communities. IF condemns this and other forms of religious persecution, targeting of minorities and extremist violence. IF also wishes to draw attention to the plight of those who have remained, whether by choice or by force, in their ancestral homes, particularly in the Ninawa province, only to face increasingly stringent demands at the hands of ISIS leaders. Reports are distressingly common of ISIS involvement not only in the forced conversion of minorities to its own version of Islam, but also of beheadings, confiscation of property, and female genital mutilation (FGM), amongst other injustices wrought onto the innocent communities native to these towns.

We are gravely concerned by the violence, including sexual violence against women and girls belonging to the Yazidi and Christian religious minorities in Iraq who are being raped and sold into slavery with the aim of giving birth to  Muslim children and thus “ethnically cleanse” these groups. Furthermore, if released, these victims face the threat of honor killings by their relatives. The Iraq Foundation condemns the deaths of hundreds of Yazidis, mostly children, on Mount Sinjar and cases of child kidnapping. We cannot overemphasize the need for intervention, without which ISIS will continue to spread and perpetuate these abuses.

The Iraq Foundation seeks to work with the Iraqi government, the Kurdish regional government (KRG) and the international community to address this tragedy. We at the Iraq Foundation are particularly concerned about the provision of psychosocial and physical services to women victims and the strengthening of appropriate resources, such as safe houses, where women can be provided with such rehabilitation services. The Iraq Foundation is currently working on the ground with local NGOs to provide much-needed humanitarian aid, including food, potable water, and medical supplies for internally displaced persons (IDPs), particularly children. Please consider donating to allow us to continue this work: http://www.iraqfoundation.org/if-assists-idps/

Mediators Beyond Borders is holding a training in September: “Women in Peacebuilding: Enhancing Skills and Practice.”  MBB

IF would like to recognize the efforts of Ms. Suaad Allami, a human rights lawyer and a longtime partner of IF. She was recently honored at the 13th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Award, attended by Hillary Clinton and held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. IF leveraged her legal expertise to provide support for PEACE and WEL (Women for Equitable Legislation). See below a photo of Suaad.

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photo courtesy of Inclusive Security

To read more about her story, please click here.

 

With refugee camps  in Dohuk, Erbil, and others of the country already past capacity, aid organizations struggling to provide basic services to victims of ISIS  are ill-prepared to serve the new influx of IDPs.

  • Christians in Mosul have been targeted by ISIS fighters. Despite an initial promise that they could remain if they paid a special tax for non-Muslims, reports indicate that those who have chosen to stay are being stripped of their possessions and killed.
  • An IDP camp in the Shekhan district of Ninewa province has doubled in size in the last two weeks, straining limited resources and placing immense pressure on aid workers to increase the rate of tent construction.
  • In Kirkuk province, local authorities estimate that a further 16,000 families have been displaced in the previous two weeks.

The worst conditions are faced by Yezidis fleeing Sinjar.  Having faced the atrocities of rape and summary execution, they have taken refuge  in mountains with little access to basic necessities. Assyrian inhabitants of Baashiqa have also fled into the mountains .

The Iraq Foundation is working closely with local humanitarian organizations with which we have established long-term relations to provide essential needs to IDPs through a fundraising campaign. To date, IF has raised $7,250, and we hope you will generously support this effort. Hammourabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO) in Ninawa has received IF-raised funds and  provided food, water and children’s health supplies to IDP communities in Bartalla (Ninawa province) in acute need of water, shelter, and health provisions. Pictures below indicate some of the work we have done so far:

In the past month, a new wave of 200,000 internally displaced persons from Ninawa province  have fled the onslaught of ISIS. Following ISIS takeover of Sinjar, hundreds of Yezidi men were summarily executed, women were raped, and thousands of Yezidi families have fled to the mountain, where they face thirst and hunger in blistering heat. Their need for water, food, and shelter is critically urgent.

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Your contribution to the Iraq Foundation may be tax deductible under section 501(C)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Please consult your tax adviser. The Iraq Foundation’s tax identification number is available on the click and pledge page.

 

An article from “Y-News – Baghdad”

July 21, 2014:

I am Christian-A message from Iraqi Muslims against violence

In the al-Ghadeer region east of Baghdad, dozens of Muslim civilian activists gathered at Saint George’s Church in solidarity with Iraqi Christians. These Christians have been forcibly displaced by ISIS militants acting in the name of a so-called Caliphate State. Entering the church on Sunday, one could not differentiate between Christians and Muslims.  Everybody gathered focused only on speaking of peace.

The atmosphere in the church sent a message to the world saying that there is no difference between Christians and Muslims in this country: Iraq belongs to us; there is no place for terrorism in it. Christians and Muslims stood together, the former reciting verses from the Bible while the latter recited Surat Al-Fatihah from the Quran. The Bible and the Quran were wrapped with the Iraqi flag, the Iraqi Flag was mediating the audience, who stood in the courtyard of the church. Attendees’ faces mixed together, reflecting the unity of Iraq. The Christians at the Church welcomed their supporters with smiles for their solidarity.  Civic activists placed a banner at the entrance of the church, reading “No for displacement any Iraqi, I am Iraqi…I am Christian.

Mr. Yousif Al-Tamimi, organizer of this solidarity activity with the Christians, said to “Y-News”: “This solidarity demonstration expresses the discontent of Iraqis regarding the forced displacement faced by the Christians in the northern city of Mosul. We are a group of civic activists who insist on our Iraqi citizenship and nothing else. We have left all other affiliations behind us.”

 

He added that “the suffering that the Christians are facing in Mosul embodies the ugliest pictures of violations against humanity.  The aim of ISIS is to return back the situation in Iraq to the days of ancient tribal judgments.”

When he gave his speech during Sunday mass, the Patriarch of the St. George’s Church expressed his gratitude towards the civil activists for their support, and said: “Just as you raised the banner that said ‘I am an Iraqi…  I am Christian,’ so will I say ‘I am an Iraqi…I am Muslim.’”

He also said that “Iraq is undergoing a dangerous time now…where some entities are trying to disturb the unity of our society.  And those who are displacing the Christians now do not represent Islam at all. True Islam is what you have come with.  It is when you expressed your rejection for any human rights violation that may affect any Iraqi, where Islam is a religion of love and peace.”

The Patriarch addressed the youth civilian activists who attended the church, saying, “You are the hope of Iraq, you will build this country, your message is a humanitarian one, devoid of any affiliations, where Iraq have gathered us all together.  I thank you for your support, which will remain known through history.”

This was followed by a statement from the civil activists’ representatives, in which he condemned the forced displacements against the Christians in Mosul, while indicating that the government must take responsibility for protecting the Christians. Finally, he described the role of civil society organizations as resisting what the suffering of the Christians.

–Mustafa Saadoun

Translation by Iraq Foundation staff

 

Additional Reading:

Muslims show solidarity with Iraqi Christians in Baghdad rally

Concern and Support for Iraqi Christians Forced to Flee Mosul

Iraqi’s Waterless Christians: The Campaign to Expel a Religion

 

The expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) in the past month has increased the challenges faced by communities in Ninawa, Salaheddin, Anbar, and Diyala provinces. With the continued and spreading violence, the need for aid and protection is more urgent than ever before.  The conditions of families displaced by this violence are appalling, and the deaths of children from heat and lack of water and food have been widely reported by international organizations.

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This violence has caused massive waves of internal migration and displacement, particularly from the Ninawa and Salah Al-Din provinces. Tens of thousands of the men, women and children who have been forced to flee their homes have headed to Dohuk and Erbil while others remain displaced in their own provinces and elsewhere in Iraq.

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  • 200,000  have fled from Ninawa to Dohuk and are in need of clean water, food, household goods, sanitation and hygiene and shelter.
  • At least 100,000  have fled to Erbil, including 7,000 Christians from Hamdaniya in Ninawa. The majority are living in the Ainkawa neighborhood with large concentrations in camps. Pregnant women (estimated at 60,000), new mothers and their babies  are particularly vulnerable groups in Erbil.
  • In the Ninawa Plain, the situation is particularly difficult in Sinjar, where 54,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have arrived from nearby Tel Afar. The remoteness of the area has presented a particular challenge for assistance. Children especially are  at risk in Sinjar and in need of oral rehydration salts and anti-diarrheal medication. Ninawa Plain is home to many of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities, who are  at risk during this crisis.
  • Over 16,000 IDPs are living in Kirkuk. Field reports have indicated an urgent need for children’s supplies, including nutritional supplements and milk as well as supplies for pregnant women, sick IDPs and older IDPs.

The Iraq Foundation is working closely with local humanitarian organizations with which we have established long-term relations to provide essential needs to IDPs through a fundraising campaign. To launch this initiative, IF has donated $5,000, and we hope you will generously support this effort. Funds donated will be used to respond to the priority needs of IDPs including: provision of potable water, food and household supplies as well as special health and medical provisions for particularly vulnerable groups, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women and new mothers and their babies.

Please make donations through the Iraq Foundation’s click and pledge accountor using our main website and clicking “Donate” in the top right corner. Please indicate that your donation is for Iraqi IDPs under the “Comments on your donation” box.

Your contribution to the Iraq Foundation may be tax deductible under section 501(C)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Please consult your tax adviser. The Iraq Foundation’s tax identification number is available on the click and pledge page.

Best wishes from the Iraq Foundation for Ramadan Mubarak.

It is with the deepest regret that the Iraq Foundation mourns the death of Ms. Omaia Al Jabara, head of the Arab and Iraqi Women’s Organization in Salah Al-Din. Ms. Jabara served as the partner of the Iraq Foundation on several projects. She was a lawyer and advisor to the governor of the province. She was died with courage, loyalty and love for her country.

The staff of the Iraq Foundation greets this news with the deepest regret and sorrow. We have lost a partner and woman distinguished for her practice of freedom and democracy. We express our utmost condolences to those martyred, to the province of Salah Al-Din, legal jurists and civil society for this great loss.

We condemn violence in Iraq as it prevents the practice of democracy, a functioning civil society and violates human rights.

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ. فَرِحِينَ بِمَا آَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَيَسْتَبْشِرُونَ بِالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ أَلَّا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (آل عمران 170،196

بمزيد من الاسف والاسى ينعى المعهد العراقي الشيخة امية الجبارة ، الفقيدة هي رئيسة منظمة المرأة العراقية والعربية في صلاح الدين ، وهي شريكة للمعهد العراقي في اكثر من مشروع ، بالاضافة لكونها محامية ومستشارة لمحافظ صلاح الدين ووجه مشرف من وجوه المحافظة ومشهود لها بالشجاعة والوفاء وحب الوطن.

واذ يعرب المعهد العراقي عن بالغ حزنه واسفه لفقدان شريك نسوي مميز على درب الحرية والديمقراطية، يتقدم بخالص عزائه لذوي الشهيدة ولمحافظة صلاح الدين والحقوقيين والمجتمع المدني العراقي بهذا المصاب الجلل، سائلين المولى عز وجل ان يتغمد الشهيدة برحمته الواسعة ويلهم ذويها الصبر والسلوان.

الرحمة والخلود لشهداء العراق الأبرار والخزي والعار لكل من يريد السوء بأرض العراق وشعبه

In the recent elections, Iraqi women won 22 seats in the Council of Representatives outside the quota system. This figure is indicative of the growing leadership of women in Iraq and increasing confidence of the electorate in women candidates!

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