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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Christian Iraqi Refugee In Lansing: “No One Wants To Be In The War”

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Image credit: Cheyna Roth/MPRN

May Anayi talks about treacherous journey to the United States and making Lansing home.

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May Anayi at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in 2014Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

May Anayi at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in 2014

Donald Trump’s travel restrictions are a local issue here in Michigan. That’s one of the reasons Detroit Today has launched a series of conversations with Detroiters and Michiganders who are directly affected by the ban or who came here after being forced from their homes overseas under political duress. Last week, host Stephen Henderson spoke with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed about his family’s journey.

These policies probably hit Michigan harder than any other state in the nation. We have one of the largest populations of people from the Near East and their descendants.

One of those people is Lansing resident May Anayi. She came here as a Christian refugee from Iraq during the Iraq War.

She had been working directly with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq before being forced to leave with her family.

Once in Michigan, she worked with St. Vincent Catholic Charities, helping their efforts to resettle other refugees in the Lansing area. She now runs a home daycare business.

No one wants to leave his belongings and his country and just start from the beginning… No one wants to be in the war,” Anayi tells Henderson on Detroit Today. ”You find bodies of the dead, it’s like a pile, in front of your house… It’s really awful for the kids.”

It gives me a sense of peace, hope,” she says about being in America. “Life here is wonderful. There is always hope.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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