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Iraqis in the U.S. Having Mixed Feelings - 2003-03-31

Many Iraqis living in the United States have mixed feelings about the U.S. led war against Iraq. Even though many have been living in the United States for many years, they still have close links to home. Some of them support the war but fear the removal of the old regime could place their relatives in harms way. Laura Keel has this report.

Detroit, Michigan has the largest Iraqi population in the United States with about 160 thousand Iraqis living there. With each day of the war, their concern increases as contact with their relatives in Iraq diminishes. This man has been trying to reach his sister in Baghdad for days:

“I try every day and last night too. I have been trying and nothing.”

The uncertainty is taking its toll.

“When the bombing happened in al-Shaaleh, Baghdad there were about 15 civilians killed. It’s very close to my wife’s family and we don’t know, there is no communication.”

Which makes hunger for news of the war much greater. Multiple satellite dishes sprout from every rooftop delivering news of Al-Jazeera and other Arabic language stations.

Meanwhile, many Iraqis who escaped Saddam Hussein years ago are concerned about the war, they find the regime poses an even greater threat to their families.

ALI EDRISS, Dearborn Resident
“If there’s no war, they’re gonna die. If there’s war, they’re gonna to die. They’re in the middle. You die anyway. The situation in Iraq is terrible.”

Many feel insecure about their lives in the U.S. after September 11th, with the recent detention of hundreds of illegal Iraqi immigrants, and news the FBI plans to interview many of them. For many who consider themselves both Iraqi and American, that makes these days even more unsettling.