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The Nun Helping Iraq's Underground Exiles
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'When Saddam was thrown out the Muslim fanatics started sending threatening letters to us by post. They demanded we leave the country or be 'ready to die'. One day six masked men came to our house and tied my husband up, and each raped me in front of him. We decided we had to escape from that place."

The war in Iraq has led to suffering on an unimaginable scale, a million different stories of grief, violence and exile. But in this war - as in all wars - the unspoken background evil is the crime of rape. And for the Christian women of Iraq it is a tale repeated so often that it is hard to ignore. But, tragically for many of the women who fled, their ordeal did not end at the border.

About 13,000 Iraqi Christian refugees are now in Turkey, including 7,000 in Istanbul, crammed into the five poorest districts, waterlogged wastelands where the refugees huddle in the basements of condemned buildings.

These cellars are wet and foul-smelling, and because they are below the sewer line levels they have no toilets. There up to 80 people per basement live, cook and eat, digging small pits to make latrines. It smells foul, but they have no choice: to go back to Iraq would mean death.

The accommodation is controlled by local criminals, who demand

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