Living with Faith for Now: Journey of Iraqi Refugees Between Homes

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Many refugees from around the world have witnessed and experienced violence in their communities, causing them to flee to a new country. Iraqi refugees have been displaced to neighboring countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Though in exile, memories of the past linger and contribute to the ongoing challenges in the host community. People cope in different ways, and this thesis examines how Iraqi refugees in Egypt heal and re-imagine a world during displacement. Using life-story interviews from Iraqi refugees in Egypt, in addition to field-site observations in Jordan, Amman and Durham, North Carolina, I argue that faith offers moments to heal and re-imagine better futures. The interviews suggest that faith is derived differently for male and female Iraqi refugees. Female Iraqi refugees discussed faith in terms of outwardly religious expression and community, such as the Quran, mosque, hijab, and collective prayers. Male Iraqi refugees, however, described their faith as a “feeling” or a personal relationship between themselves and Allah. Though faith precipitates out of different behaviors and activities, Iraqi refugees in Egypt cling onto their faith to keep imagining better worlds. They keep working, and as evidenced by latest encounters with the Durham refugee community, they keep migrating, hoping that they will, one day, discover a safe, comfortable life that makes sense to them.





El-sadek, Leena (2015). Living with Faith for Now: Journey of Iraqi Refugees Between Homes. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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