Christianity in Iraq is nearly as old as Christianity itself. In the beginning of June 2014 Mosul fell to the Islamic State so rapidly that most of the Christian minority who fled, left with only the clothes on their backs and whatever documents and money they could grab quickly. In 2015, I photographed some of these clothes and made portraits of people in Amman, Jordan, where nearly 10 thousand of the refugees from Mosul were relocated to from Iraqi Kurdistan.
"We left Mosul on the 9th of June. We live on the left side of the city and we heard news that at around midnight ISIS had entered the city on the right side. People started telling each other to leave the city immediately. We took our car and left for Erbil in Kurdistan. Everybody was fleeing so the road was very crowded. Erbil is less than 60km from Mosul but it took us 20 hours to get there because of traffic."
"They gave them three days to convert to Islam, pay the tax or they will cut their heads off. They stole everything. My house, everything inside of it. My savings. Everything."
"I was wearing this jersey because I was going with my friends to our volleyball practice. Before we got to the place, we heard news that we needed to leave the city. I went back to my house and told my family and then we left because our lives are more important than the practice."
"My friends are distributed between Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Erbil. I still talk to some people in Erbil but I’m not communicating with anybody in Iraq because I can’t trust anyone anymore. We are being treated well here (in Jordan) but we are depending on the UN to get us out of here. I just want stability and security with my sister or my brother in Sweden or Canada"
Before 2003 (the year of the U.S. invasion) our lives used to be better and the discrimination towards Christians was under control. Only uneducated, ignorant people discriminated against us. After 2003 the discrimination got much worse. There was no law in Iraq. People were doing whatever they wanted and some Mosques were saying that the Christians don’t believe in God and that they are infidels. After that, people started to target us in every way. They would send us threatening letters at work, kidnapping people, killing people.We were even scared to go to church.
"On Thursday night we start hearing shooting and shelling. The shelling kept going till Saturday. On Saturday afternoon people start telling each other to leave because ISIS entered the city, and they were 5 minutes away from us. So we took our passports , documents and some money and left immediately on foot."
"When we got to the church at 10pm we stayed the night there and left at 5 am and then we took a taxi and left towards Karakoosh."
"We lost everything in Iraq so there is nothing to go back to. We are searching for any place that respects us as humans and respects our religion."