ARDEN-ARCADE (CBS13) – From the outside, it looks like the folks inside Arcade Church are simply serving up and enjoying a nice Thanksgiving dinner.
But a closer look through the eyes of dozens of people in the room and you see the fear is still there.
“[It’s] very hard to live,” said Iraqi refugee Bassil Mahid.
Mahid is talking about life in Iraq and how everyone around his table escaped a life full of bombings and death threats in the Middle East.
“I feel sad because it reflects very bad on my people and my country,” said refugee Mohammad Farjullah.
Farjullah and his family have only been in the United States for three months. He worked for the U.S. Army for a few years and because of that his family’s life was constantly threatened.
“It’s unbelievable to us,” Farjullah said.
He says daily news and videos of the unrest in Iraq serve as a chilling reminder of what he left behind.
“I wish my people can see this, can feel this: the idea of freedom,” Farjullah said.
And for Dr. Bryce Jessup, president of William Jessup University (one of the many organizers of the Thanksgiving dinner at Arcade Church), the refugees’ stories become lessons for his students.
“It reminds them of the fact we are very blessed here in America,” Jessup said.
But now they say life in the U.S. for the refugees is calm and quiet.
“One of the most beautiful things to us actually is to go outside the apartment and walk outside in the streets peacefully,” Farjullah said.
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