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Photo Essay:
Iraqis With Different Religions, Co-Existing in Peace

In Kirkuk, where Iraqis of different sects have lived together for decades, two families have come together in a crisis. Sunni and Christian, they live in neighbourly peace. Iraqi photo agency, Metrography, went to…
3.09.2015

When the extremist group known as the Islamic State approached their town, Tel Kaif, near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Ghanim Hormoz Gorgis, 60, and his family decided to flee. They stayed in their home for some time, even living under the group's rule for a while, but eventually Gorgis and his family left, fearing their lives would be in danger if the extremists, whose ideology is based on their own, brutal and self-serving version of Sunni Islam, ever changed their minds about local Christians.

The family eventually arrived in Kirkuk, a city inside the area protected by Iraqi Kurdish military in northern Iraq, around mid-2014. They were joined there by one of their former neighbours from Mosul and her husband.

In Kirkuk their paths crossed with that of Widad Fadhil, a 47-year-old widow from Nassaf in the central Iraqi province of Anbar. When the Islamic State group came there, she too decided to take her sister's orphaned children and her mother and leave her home.

The two families from opposite ends of Iraq's religious divides now share one house in Kirkuk. Their children play together regularly and they live in neighbourly peace, with both families respecting the other's religion.

Bnar Sardar, a photographer from Iraqi photo agency, Metrography, visited the two families over several months at the beginning of 2015 and captured their co-existence in black and white as part of an ongoing series of photo essays that investigate the lives of Iraq's many displaced people.

 

Widad's niece, Asma, was badly injured in an explosion.

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