Basam lived most of his life in Mosul, in northern Iraq, where he was living a stable life with his family until the war in Iraq in 2003. He tried to remain in Mosul despite the unstable conditions. Then, he remembers very well, one day in November 2003 when Basam and his wife took their daughter to the clinic to get her a vaccine. On their way there, a man came at them. At first Basam thought that the man was going to kidnap his daughter. Instead, he cut the cross necklace that Basam’s wife was wearing. She screamed in pain as the assailant called them “Christian infidels” and ran away. After this incident they rushed into their house and did not leave unless it was necessary, and Basam closed his laundry and garment services shop.
Three months later, Basam’s family received a phone call from an unknown number stating, “we are the Jihadis, and you must pay Jizya (a yearly taxation) or convert to Islam or be killed or leave.” The next morning, he found an envelope with three bullets and a paper that says, “Father of Dalal, the tailor.”
After this, his brother-in-law was killed in Mosul for being Christian. Basam, along with his family and sister, escaped to Qaraqosh. He opened a simple sewing and laundry shop and lived there until the invasion of ISIS in 2014. Then they had to flee again, this time to Erbil. His son, Rami, was traumatized saying that “ISIS will come and kill us.”
After moving to Erbil he opened a small sewing shop. With the help of some friends, he added laundry services. In 2022 Basam applied for a one-time SWIC Small Business Redevelopment Grant. A field officer assisted him with the application, and afterwards the field officer helped Basam in purchasing items to make his laundry and sewing business more sustainable. He received an automatic washing machine, clothing dryer, AC, and water heater, all of which will help grow his business, make his customers more comfortable, and increase his output. This is the chance he hoped for—to enhance his business and live in peace with his family.
Basam and the field team are praying for the success of his laundry and sewing shop, and the growth of his customer base, now that he can assist more customers. This became possible with the items purchased with the SWIC Small Business Redevelopment Grant.