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Arab Cultural Society aims to aid Iraqi students

On April 10, 2018

BY TIFFENY GRIPPER / VN STAFF WRITER

The civil war in Syria, which has been underway since 2011, has dominated international news in recent years.

But neither it nor the troubles in Palestine is the only significant conflict in the Middle East.

Iraq also is embroiled in war – and it’s that conflict that is rallying some Detroit Mercy students.

Arab Cultural Society President Zeinab Bazzi said she has been motivated to action in part by a lack of media coverage about the conflict between the Iraqi Armed Forces and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

“I was looking at countries in the Middle East that no one was talking about,” said Bazzi. “Syria is talked about a lot, but it seems like everyone is ignoring Iraq.”

So the society got to work.

After it was settled that Iraq was the country that the Arab Cultural Society was going to help, members needed to figure out what organization to benefit.

They wanted to make sure the organization was legit and that the money would go directly to helping students.

Society members found their answer at the website helpiraq.org.

Bazzi called the organization.

The Helpiraq.org network, which is based in metro Detroit, has a program called Students 2 Students, through which student-led organizations aid college students in northern Iraq displaced because of religious persecution.

The persecution has led to many students being unable to finish their education due to living and transportation costs.

The only way they are able to finish their education is by living in an over-crowded house with some necessities.

Student 2 Student is sponsored by the St. Thomas Diocese, but it helps not only Christian refugees but all displaced minorities in that region.

The Arab Cultural Society needs $1,000 to make its fundraiser dinner happen and members are still working on raising the money to do it.

The organization had an initial date earlier in the semester, but had to cancel because of insufficient funds.

The group has had shawarma sales in the library that have raised $350 thus far.

Right now, members are deciding whether they should do another shawarma sale or a bake sale.

Some who don’t eat shawarma have simply donated money.

Bazzi said she has always believed that the amount donated is not the most important thing.

“It is that you are willing to help,” she said. 

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