A small classroom down a hall at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Lincoln is a long way from Iraq, but this is where a group of Yazidi women find themselves. They’re part of a class led by volunteer Terri Hensley, a former teacher who’s helping them learn English.
“We are learning consonants and vowels and we are starting right from scratch, so it is a very slow process,” Hensley said.
These woman are mostly from an area in northern Iraq, but Yazidis have also lived in parts of Syria and Turkey. They’re both an ethnic and religious minority and have faced persecution for decades, most recently at the hands of ISIS. They began arriving in Nebraska several decades ago as part of the refugee resettlement process.
Gulie Khalaf is Yazidi and arrived in the U.S. from Syria in 1998. She moved from Atlanta to Buffalo and then to Lincoln, a place where it seems many Yazidi refugees end up. There are now more than 2,000 here.
“Even though the resettlement office settles Yazidis elsewhere, they end up a year later or even six months later, giving up whatever they have collected and they end up coming to live here in Nebraska,” Khalaf said.
FULL ARTICLE FROM NETNEBRASKA.ORG
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Less than an hour after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians protested by turning off the lights on the Christmas tree outside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
It was a timely reminder that while headlines focused on Islamist calls for uprisings and Trump’s references to Jewish historical ties, the president’s words also stirred deep feelings among the Palestinians’ small Christian community.
Coming out of the Sunday service in his Assyrian Catholic church in Jerusalem, Fredrick Hazo accused Trump of “dragging all the world into trouble”, and called on the U.S. leader to reverse his decision.
“We are united – Christians, Muslims, we are one,” said the 59-year-old Palestinian musician, standing in an alley in the heart of the Old City, surrounded by shops selling religious trinkets.
He was frustrated by the politics, but confident the delicate balance the three faiths kept in the holy city would prevail. “In this sacred place, God is protecting us all. We are guarded by his angels in Jerusalem,” Hazo added.
Christians make up around just one percent of the Palestinian population in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem – though they punch above their weight in local and national politics.
Back in July, Hazo protested alongside Muslims against Israel’s installation of security scanners at the nearby al-Aqsa mosque – Islam’s third holiest site – after two Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli police officers at the site.
It removed the metal detectors after days of bloody clashes, scenes that have not been repeated in the city since Trump’s declaration.
Palestinian Christians have expressed their frustration with Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many of them spoke out during Sunday services in Gaza. More than 200,000 Palestinian Christians live in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.
VIDEO FROM AL JAZEERA
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a scathing response Wednesday to United States President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier that day.
Citing the city’s Muslim and Christian strongholds and historical ties, Abbas negated the Jewish state’s ancient claim on the capital, saying, “US President Trump’s decision tonight will not change the reality of the city of Jerusalem, nor will it give any legitimacy to Israel in this regard, because it is an Arab Christian and Muslim city, the capital of the eternal state of Palestine.”
US President Donald Trump called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday and began the process moving his country’s embassy to the city.
The move sparked global condemnation from world leaders.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War with Syria, Egypt and Jordan; the western half of the holy city had been captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem effectively put the entire city under de facto Israeli control. Israeli jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem, however, is not recognised by the international community, including the United States.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the main sticking points in efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA