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Iraqi refugees protest treatment by relief organization

Iraqi refugees demonstrate Sept. 1 outside the State Capitol. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Iain Woessner)

Iraqi refugees demonstrate Sept. 1 outside the State Capitol. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Iain Woessner)

Demonstrating Sept. 1 outside the State Capitol, Marwan Eldosari said the United Nations promised him decent housing, a job and the American dream when he decided to leave Iraq following the U.S. invasion.

Instead, Eldosari said he is unemployed and unhappy with the central Phoenix apartment complex where he and other Iraqi refugees live. He said a group responsible for helping refugees hasn’t come through on its promise of help.

“Many people will be homeless because there is no support for them,” he said.

Eldosari and 12 others carried signs including “Real hell in Iraq better than false paradise of America.” When they tried to enter the lobby of the Executive Tower, a police officer told them they could march outside the House and Senate buildings.

Eldosari said that Gov. Jan Brewer should be interested in the plight of Iraqi refugees because the United States has occupied their country.

“We lost our country; we lost Iraq,” he said.

Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, said he was unaware of the demonstration or anyone contacting her office about the matter.

The refugees said they are supported by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a refugee-resettlement organization that according to its Web site is calling for an overhaul of the U.S. system for admitting Iraqi refugees because many are in poverty here.

The IRC’s telephone number in Phoenix rang through to a voice message saying the office was closed.

But Eldosari and other demonstrators said the group hasn’t lived up to its mission.

“When you go there, ask them many times for to find job, they didn’t find any jobs for us,” he said.

Shaimaa Saleh, a quadriplegic who said she has been in the U.S. for about six months, said through an interpreter she probably will wind up in a nursing home because she can’t get the nursing care she needs.

“The U.N. told me, ‘If you come to America, you will find anything you need because of your disability,’” she said.


  1. Go back then.

  2. I know its hard but toughen out. They are not the only ones facing troubles. Think about it, is it better over there? Is it? Many people struggle in there day to day lifes trying to feed there family. Just saying to be thankful and were a limited country with unlimited needs.

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