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Jed Boal ReportingIt's a new start in Salt Lake City for a family of Iraqi refugees who landed here yesterday. They left a home ravaged by war. They support U.S. efforts in their country but desperately thirst for freedom.
When Najat Sultan and her family landed in Salt Lake City, they missed Iraq, but they do not regret their decision. Sultan said, "I must have a few months to live with peace, with freedom, with no fear."
The family left for many reasons, the main one being Sultan's grandbaby. Mariam celebrated her first birthday yesterday as the family celebrated freedom. Today their case worker with Catholic Community Services started them on paperwork for benefits and employment.
It's overwhelming for refugees starting over again with a new home, new jobs and a new culture, but it also means new hope.
Aden Batar, with Catholic Community Services, says, "If we wouldn't have this welcoming community here in Utah, we wouldn't have a successful resettlement program."
Sultan is a writer who ran a school near Baghdad.
When U.S. troops toppled Saddam's regime, Sultan's family persevered, but it got worse. "Now no hope. The fighting continues," Sultan said. They fled to Jordan with Mariam and their own freedom in mind.
The say they are thankful for the U.S. troops. "She says she thanks the U.S. army in Iraq. Because of them, they are here today. They saved our life," Sultan translated.
Sultan is exhausted by war, but she wants to help fellow Iraqis and feels inspired by the beauty of Utah.
The U.S. has agreed to receive as many as 10,000 Iraqi refugees this year. A few hundred could make Utah their home.