We are raising money for Ahmed Moneka, who came to Canada from Iraq two years ago as a refugee. We are now sponsoring his family (through Group of 5 sponsorship) and need to raise money for his sponsorship and to cover their expenses while they are waiting in Turkey.
Ahmed is a refugee because of his brave work as an actor. He came to Canada to support the World Premiere of the film The Society at The Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. The Society is an Iraqi film depicting gay life in Iraq, in which he plays the lead role of a gay Iraqi man. While he was in Canada during the festival, his father (who is also a famous actor) was threatened by the militia, and told that "if he comes back to Iraq, his body will be cut into small pieces". So he sought and received asylum in Canada in 2016. His family continues to receive constant threats because of Ahmed’s work, their African Sufi sect, and because they are a well-known family in the art community in Baghdad.
Ahmed’s parents, Salah and Salameh now suffer from chronic diseases because of their precarious situation. Salah has advanced diabetes and Salameh suffers from high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. Their health deteriorated after all three of their sons were forced to leave Iraq. Salah is forbidden to work because of his beliefs, and the militia has blocked him from work in his field as an actor. This gravely affected their financial and mental situation.
Ahmed’s sister Isra is a university teacher and one of the founders of the cinema department at her school, The University of Barsa. The anti-Sufi militia attacked the music department of the university, as well as music and cinema establishments in Basra. After this, Isra received threats. Isra was personally threatened because of her family’s mixed system of Islamic beliefs. Isra had to flee back to Baghdad to support her family, especially to support her youngest sister, Tara.
Tara, the youngest daughter is thirteen years old and is an internationally famous Arabic singer. She has sung in many festivals in Iraq, including the International Day of Peace Festival. She has most recently performed on the Voice Kids on MBC. Tara is subject to constant threats from renegade militias in Baghdad because of her family’s roots, and her brother?rsquo;s current situation. Her success is now a danger for her and her family’s lives. Her last concert in a public square with thousands of people in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve was raided by militias and she was threatened to never perform again.
Due to the elevated danger of the situation and increase of militias in Iraq, this family has been dismantled and are now in a critical situation, such that they have fled to Turkey. They are desperate to join their son Ahmed in Canada to continue their lives, to be reunited and live in peace. We are urgently trying to find a way to reunite the family and bring them to safety, as Ahmed can no longer go back to Iraq.