Iraqi Interpreters Grateful for U.S. Troops' Support

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/15347832/15352889" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript
Abood al-Khafajee and his wife Batul i

Abood al-Khafajee and his wife, Batul, settled with their family in Brooklyn, N.Y., in June. Neva Grant, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Neva Grant, NPR
Abood al-Khafajee and his wife Batul

Abood al-Khafajee and his wife, Batul, settled with their family in Brooklyn, N.Y., in June.

Neva Grant, NPR

Abood al-Khafajee and his family settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., in June. They had to leave Iraq after al-Khafajee, who had worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, was threatened with death.

Back in Iraq, he was warned that Americans hate Muslims. But in Brooklyn, he found friendly neighbors. What he failed to find were other Iraqis. He is one of the few allowed to resettle in the United States. And he doesn't quite believe it yet.

"Even my wife sometimes [says], 'Don't tell our families there that we are in America because maybe they will envy us," he says.

So how did al-Khafajee escape the threats of Baghdad? You could say he was rescued — by the Marine captain he once worked for in Iraq.

Capt. Zack Iscol told a Senate hearing that without al-Khafajee's help, his Marines were as good as deaf and dumb on the battlefield. Six months later, al-Khafajee and his family were allowed into the United States.

"For that, I consider myself very, very lucky," al-Khafajee says.

His wife, Batul, wonders why Americans allow other nationalities to settle in this country but Iraqis who helped the Americans have to wait.

Shaima, one of their daughters, adds that Americans should try to help not just the thousands of Iraqi interpreters like her father, but all the Iraqis who have fled the country — more than 2 million of them.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.