Friday, May 12, 2006

Building Iraq against all Odds

As the news takes the opportunity to highlight the blood shed caused by terrorism in Iraq everyday, I would like also to grab the opportunity to write about some positive news. Some Iraqis are rolling up their sleeves to build the new Iraq despite every day deadly threats.

Despite the ongoing difficulties in Iraq, the American Islamic Congress office in Iraq continues to assist Iraqi women civic leaders. The Iraq-based staff provides leadership training and organizational development guidance to 15 women-led organizations working on human rights, women's rights, and minority rights. They are also opening resource centers in Basra and Karbala for community leaders and the general public to use in facilitating the organizations' efforts. Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director, will be in Iraq soon to review the project.

Zainab Al-Suwaij is part of an established Iraqi religious family, Ms. Al-Suwaij was born in Basra, Iraq. While visiting Kuwait in 1990 she experienced Saddam Hussein's invasion, forcing her to return to Iraq. There, she participated in the failed 1991 Intifadah uprising against Hussein (read her memoir of the uprising). After the Gulf War, she fled to the United States to complete her studies. She has worked as a refugee case manager and a teaching fellow in Arabic at Yale. Read her articles on Muslim-American women, the role of contradictions in the Muslim world, and inclusive American patriotism.

I met Zainab in reality, before that I only knew her through TV programs. I thought I will be meeting the same serious sober person on TV, but in reality she is very funny and whom you ll feel you knew her before. I am sure with serious sincere Iraqi people like Zainab, Iraq will continue to reap the fruits of democracy and freedom.

In the picture Zainab with George Cloony during the Sudan Rally in DC, April 30, campaigning for ending Darfur human disaster.


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