Published on IRINnews, le 18 Décember 2012 (also in french and arabic).
Near a swamp of sewage in a slum in eastern Iraq, six-year-old Amir plays soccer with friends, unaware of a fact that may continue to affect him for the rest of his life: His father – killed four months before he was born – was a senior leader within al-Qaeda.
Like dozens of other children of insurgents in Diyala Province, Amir’s birth was not registered. He has no documentation, no citizenship, no access to government services and, his mother fears, no future.
Diyala was one of Iraq’s most dangerous areas during the civil conflict of 2006-7, one of the many provinces north and west of Baghdad that fell under al-Qaeda’s control.
During that period, some families gave their daughters up for marriage because the militants forced them to do so; others considered it a sign of gratitude to foreign fighters seen to be defending Iraqi lands from occupation. Those marriages were never registered in court, but rather under Islamic law, requiring only a mosque imam and two witnesses. (Iraqi law requires birth registration to be supported by a marriage certificate.)
According to civil society activists and members of parliament, more than seventy children fall into this limbo in Diyala, one of the most affected provinces. No national statistics exist.
Like a curse: … //
… Legalizing the sons (and daughters???) of al-Qaeda?
Some members of parliament are trying to change that – pushing for a law that would give the children of insurgents a legitimate presence as Iraqi citizens.
“They are victims of al-Qaeda,” said Hassan Sulaiman a member of Iraqiya, Iraq’s largest Sunni-backed political bloc, in Diyala.
He said many women were forced into these marriages; others were left behind as their husbands were killed or fled.
“We are trying to solve this problem,” he told IRIN. “[These children] will be considered a threat in the future.”
He said lawmakers would continue pursuing the issue in parliament until “we reach some kind of solution for them”, and suggested orphanages as one option.
Shiites, the dominant sect in parliament, have rejected the idea of citizenship, arguing al-Qaeda – a Sunni group – committed many crimes and killed many innocent Iraqis.
“We can’t let it happen,” said Hakim al-Zamili, a leader of the Shiite Sadrist movement and a member of the security committee in parliament. “Al-Qaeda has the blood of Iraqis [on its hands]. We can give them nothing.”
Al-Qaeda itself recognizes the problem, according to an al-Qaeda fighter, who gave only his nickname, Abu Yousif, for security reasons.
A few months ago, he said, al-Qaeda issued a fatwa ordering members not yet wanted by the government to marry wives of fallen or imprisoned fighters and support their children financially.
“It is important to keep the families safe and raise their sons as we will need them in the future,” he told IRIN. “We must raise our generations [well] so that our message to the world continues. Our war against the infidels has just begun and our powers are increasing.”
Life of destitution: … //
… (full text).
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