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Convertible

Rafha Refugee Camp

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Is there anyone from this website who used to be in that camp? Or does anyone here personally know someone who was? Also, are there any former members of the Iraqi Army who fought during the Gulf War?

I'd like to hear some stories about experiences trying to reach safety or at the camp itself.

Some of you here know about the refugee camp that used to be near the northern Saudi town of Rafha.

It was built shortly after the cease fire of the 1990-91 Gulf War. I searched the website for posts regarding it and found a few and will follow up with those members.

Thank you for your help.

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7 hours ago, Convertible said:

Some of you here know about the refugee camp that used to be near the northern Saudi town of Rafha.

It was built shortly after the cease fire of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Do you know someone who used to live in the refugee camp? The conditions there must be horrible because I saw a photo from 2003.

http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2003/7/3f2560974/iraqis-prepare-leave-remote-desert-camp.html

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4 hours ago, hameedeh said:

Do you know someone who used to live in the refugee camp? The conditions there must be horrible because I saw a photo from 2003.

http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2003/7/3f2560974/iraqis-prepare-leave-remote-desert-camp.html

Oh the stories I could tell you, Sister!!

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There were actually a series of camps, so I may be incorrect in my assertion. I am pretty sure the Camp that we built was affectionately referred to as Dusty Camp.

First there was Rocky Camp and then people were transferred to the old prison site at Nigrat Al-Salman. And then we built Dusty Camp. Maybe the final camp was built by the Saudis.

But I know the people living there built their own "houses" made of adobe bricks, Iraqi style.

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Bismehe Ta3ala,

Assalam Alikum Brother Convert,

Insh'Allah you are well and in good health.

Was it here where you were introduced to Shia Islam?  I know our 3raqi brothers and sisters are passionate towards to the love of Ahulbayt.  Would they talk to you about Imam Ali and Imam Hussain, since both their shrines are in Najaf and Karbala?

God bless you.  I would like to hear your stories when you have time.

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

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2 hours ago, Laayla said:

Bismehe Ta3ala,

Assalam Alikum Brother Convert,

Insh'Allah you are well and in good health.

Was it here where you were introduced to Shia Islam?  I know our 3raqi brothers and sisters are passionate towards to the love of Ahulbayt.  Would they talk to you about Imam Ali and Imam Hussain, since both their shrines are in Najaf and Karbala?

God bless you.  I would like to hear your stories when you have time.

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

Thank you Sister,

Actually, my introduction to Shi'a Islam was during the Iranian Revolution, Hezbollah, Beirut etc. It's unfortunate, but this was my intro to Islam. It was terrorism and violence.

Fortunately, however, I never managed to become hateful of Islam or of "Middle Eastern" people or of Arabs and Persians. In fact, at eleven years of age, my little brother and I would stand on the street corner yelling "Peace in the Middle East!" while flashing peace signs to passersby.

In the early 1980s, my oldest brother and my Mother took on the Baha'i Faith (I have no desire to debate whether or not it is an actual faith or religion).

I was raised Southern Baptist in a Catholic neighborhood, but began studying the Baha'i Faith, and by way of that, began studying Shi'a Islam, as a young teenager. I was, in general, turned off by religion, but, nevertheless, continued my study as a curious person.

My experience as a combat veteran in Iraq and the subsequent displacement of mostly Shi'i, was my first direct experience with Shi'a Islam.

And now I am Shi'a and married a woman born into Shi'a Islam.

God bless you too!

Your Brother

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Bismehe Ta3ala,

Brother Convert,

I know you are monitoring this thread and then leaving.  If you would like to ask another brother @Abu Hadi he also has converted to Shia  Islam, he can discuss with you why Shias have problems with Zionism.    

Keep studying and learning about the faith whenever you can.  People will have a variety of opinions, you don't have to agree with them but we also need to be aware of who the Hussain is of our time and who the Yazids are in our time.  

Thank you for sharing your story with us.  Much happiness to your marriage and I wish you and your family the best.  

The Lebanese Shias and Iranians do not recognize "isreal" as a legitimate country.  

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

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4 minutes ago, Laayla said:

Bismehe Ta3ala,

Brother Convert,

I know you are monitoring this thread and then leaving.  If you would like to ask another brother @Abu Hadi he also has converted to Shia  Islam, he can discuss with you why Shias have problems with Zionism.    

Keep studying and learning about the faith whenever you can.  People will have a variety of opinions, you don't have to agree with them but we also need to be aware of who the Hussain is of our time and who the Yazids are in our time.  

Thank you for sharing your story with us.  Much happiness to your marriage and I wish you and your family the best.  

The Lebanese Shias and Iranians do not recognize "isreal" as a legitimate country.  

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

Thank you, Laayla,

I am all too aware of Zionism and need no education on the subject, but I appreciate your sentiment.

What I cannot accept is hatred of any sort and I will not knowingly be party to it. Love your enemy.

Frankly, I am not concerned with the Lebanese or the Iranians. I am concerned with Shi'a Islam and how thoroughly I can allow it to penetrate my mind, heart and soul.

"If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."                                                       Matthew 5:39

"And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend."                                      Fussilat 41:34

 

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Salaam Aleikum,

I was 5-6 year old boy when I was in Rafha. We used to live in the camps (We builded our own tents) for 2 years, before we were moved to another country because of the medical reasons (Many of us got very sick because of the dust). The quality of life was horrible and we did live in fear, because the saudis used to attack the campers and some of them actually died.

Many of the people moved to different western countries, some of them returned to Iraq and some of them stayed in Rafha and made village out of it who they currently lives there.

Edited by Dhulfikar

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37 minutes ago, Dhulfikar said:

Salaam Aleikum,

I was 5-6 year old boy when I was in Rafha. We used to live in the camps (We builded our own tents) for 2 years, before we were moved to another country because of the medical reasons (Many of us got very sick because of the dust). The quality of life was horrible and we did live in fear, because the saudis used to attack the campers and some of them actually died.

Many of the people moved to different western countries, some of them returned to Iraq and some of them stayed in Rafha and made village out of it who they currently lives there.

Salaam Brother,

I feel for you. The conditions were horrible. I literally helped to build that thing from the ground up.

I would very much like to learn more of your experiences, if you are willing to talk about it. I know you were quite young, but you obviously have some memories of it. I will send you a private message.

Thank you.

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My dad was there. Was there for about two or four years I think then he went to Australia and others were thrown all over the world. 

He said it was one of the toughest experiences in his life. I once asked why the Saudis were actually nice enough to take Iraqis in and provide them shelter.. He said they literally threw them in a desert in the toughest conditions. It was hot, dirty, unhygienic, there were kids, pregnant women, old people. 

The camps themselves were horrible. Some Iraqis used to fight just for the sake of it and getting almost trapped in a place like that can really have a toll. His family didn't know he was alive until a few months later when he wrote them a letter. The other day we had an insect in our house and my little sister thought it was a rat and my dad and said back in Rafha (the good ol' back in my days narrative lol) rats were around us like our friends. They'd sleep and they'll be nibbling on their feet. Shows the kind of environment they were in..

Edited by Alzaynebia313

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25 minutes ago, Alzaynebia313 said:

My dad was there. Was there for about two or four years I think then he went to Australia and others were thrown all over the world. 

He said it was one of the toughest experiences in his life. I once asked why the Saudis were actually nice enough to take Iraqis in and provide them shelter.. He said they literally threw them in a desert in the toughest conditions. It was hot, dirty, unhygienic, there were kids, pregnant women, old people. 

The camps themselves were horrible. Some Iraqis used to fight just for the sake of it and getting almost trapped in a place like that can really have a toll. His family didn't know he was alive until a few months later when he wrote them a letter. The other day we had an insect in our house and my little sister thought it was a rat and my dad and said back in Rafha (the good ol' back in my days narrative lol) rats were around us like our friends. They'd sleep and they'll be nibbling on their feet. Shows the kind of environment they were in..

Yes. That is all so true. The dust storms were so horrible too. 

Edited by Dhulfikar

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7 hours ago, Dhulfikar said:

Yes. That is all so true. The dust storms were so horrible too. 

Must've been tough but Shiat Ameer Almu'mneen can take anything! And Alhumdulilah the outcome wasn't too bad. They got to leave their country and become citizens in first world developed countries and Iraq now gives back to the people of Rafha (at least the government did one thing right...)

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Salam Aleikum,

I was there as well. I remember those hard winds which blew off some of our tents, the harsh life, how people used to be in lines just to get water and food. I also remembered when I went to this school camp and my Holy Quran teacher was so frightful and horrible, he used to beat anyone who made even tiniest mistake in reading Holy Quran, I think he was from Saudia because he looked like that. But the life there were indeed very difficult. People were killed for non-sense reasons.

The only good memory back from there was when I was introduced to prayer when I was like 6-7 years old. This might sound little bit harsh, but honestly when I compare the Syrian refugee situation and what they are provided with, their situation is like "Paradise" compared to our times. Alhamdulilallah for some people things are better now.

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On 9/23/2016 at 6:26 AM, Alzaynebia313 said:

My dad was there. Was there for about two or four years I think then he went to Australia and others were thrown all over the world. 

He said it was one of the toughest experiences in his life. I once asked why the Saudis were actually nice enough to take Iraqis in and provide them shelter.. He said they literally threw them in a desert in the toughest conditions. It was hot, dirty, unhygienic, there were kids, pregnant women, old people. 

The camps themselves were horrible. Some Iraqis used to fight just for the sake of it and getting almost trapped in a place like that can really have a toll. His family didn't know he was alive until a few months later when he wrote them a letter. The other day we had an insect in our house and my little sister thought it was a rat and my dad and said back in Rafha (the good ol' back in my days narrative lol) rats were around us like our friends. They'd sleep and they'll be nibbling on their feet. Shows the kind of environment they were in..

Thank you for sharing your father's story. The Saudis virtually had no choice in taking Iraqis.

Once the major fighting was done we began to push north back into Iraq and came across wave after wave of people fleeing south. We gave away as much food and water that we could spare, tell them to keep going south and eventually they would be picked up and then we would move on to find another group of people and then another, and then another......

Eventually, it became clear that camps needed to be built. I think they selected Rafha because it has an airport.

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22 hours ago, Alzaynebia313 said:

Must've been tough but Shiat Ameer Almu'mneen can take anything! And Alhumdulilah the outcome wasn't too bad. They got to leave their country and become citizens in first world developed countries and Iraq now gives back to the people of Rafha (at least the government did one thing right...)

The current Iraqi government is trying to do what it can. Needless to say many records of deeds and titles to property and assets are destroyed, but there has, at least, been somewhat of an attempt to right the wrongs.

I know of one family in particular that recently visited Iraq in order to recover lost assets. It's proven to be a rough ride for them with all of the bureaucracy and lost records proving worth of assets or even if the assets existed to begin with. This same family actually succeeded in finding their house they fled in mid-March 1991. It was occupied by another family.

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11 hours ago, sayedamir2000 said:

Salam Aleikum,

I was there as well. I remember those hard winds which blew off some of our tents, the harsh life, how people used to be in lines just to get water and food. I also remembered when I went to this school camp and my Holy Quran teacher was so frightful and horrible, he used to beat anyone who made even tiniest mistake in reading Holy Quran, I think he was from Saudia because he looked like that. But the life there were indeed very difficult. People were killed for non-sense reasons.

The only good memory back from there was when I was introduced to prayer when I was like 6-7 years old. This might sound little bit harsh, but honestly when I compare the Syrian refugee situation and what they are provided with, their situation is like "Paradise" compared to our times. Alhamdulilallah for some people things are better now.

Yes, there were some killings at the hands of the Saudis. Once we built the camps, we stayed around providing armed security and medical support, but then handed over the camp's operation to the Saudis.

Within a couple days of us leaving the camps, we heard about the first massacre. Memory has a way of tricking ourselves, but I remember 27 killed and wounded. We were horrified by the news. Truly horrified, but also relieved to be finally going home, while we left behind so many people.

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On 9/26/2016 at 5:21 PM, AliAlsaidy said:

I wasn't there but most of my immediate family was there and I haven't heard much stories from them only a few. I don't think they like to talk about it. Then from there in 1993 the UNHCR took them to the U.S. Then I was born

That sounds about right!! Glad your parents made it for you to be born!

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