US Servicemen Find Mural of Michigan in War-Torn Iraq
Where to some Iraqis yearn to go to escape their war-torn country? It appears to be Michigan.
This mural of our state was discovered along a concrete barrier by some US servicemen who are in country and shared on reddit.
Michigan should be a location familiar to many in Iraq as the Detroit suburb of Dearborn is home to more Arab Americans than anywhere else in the country.
A 2015 Atlantic article profiled Iraqi diaspora who sought the Detroit area for their new home.
[Zaid] Al Saady won't forget the date he arrived in Detroit: May 14, 2014. "I had to pinch my cheeks. I thought, 'Am I really in the United States?' " Al Saady says in Arabic through an interpreter at his new home in Dearborn.
Detroit's suburbs have absorbed tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in recent years after violence erupted in the wake of the war. The established Arab community in Detroit has made it the top destination for Iraqi refugees—and that, in turn, has made Michigan one of the states receiving the largest influx of refugees.
From 2010 to 2014, Michigan saw a 38 percent increase in the number of refugees moving to the state, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. The vast majority are fleeing Iraq, where they faced violence and retaliation for working with U.S. troops during the war, like Al Saady, or because they belong to a religious minority. The number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Michigan nearly doubled in the last four years, with 2,751 arriving in 2014.