To escape war-torn Iraq, eight-year-old Halla Mahler and her family fled to Jordan, then Lebanon and finally to the United States, where an uncle had prepared their green cards.
“It was a very traumatic time,” she told God Reports. “I don’t remember much.”
After Covid, Halla, 48, her husband and two children are “closer to Jesus than ever.” They attend a church in Newbury Park that insisted it was an essential service and flouted bans on church services imposed by government authorities.
The masks and distancing rules killed the spirit at her former church, she says.
Halla was born into a small minority of Iraqi Christians who trace their beginnings back to Saint Thomas and have dwindled to about 500,000 in recent years. As a minority among hostile Muslims, her family feared for their lives constantly.
Halla was never allowed to play over at a friend’s house or in the streets because the threat was constant.
“My parents were afraid we would be abducted,” she says. “The Muslims would abduct the Christians. Historically in the Middle East there’s always been that battle.”
Raised at the time of the Iran-Iraq War, Halla never passed a day without sirens. She lived in Baghdad and day and night, awake or asleep, ran for cover whenever the sirens blared to the dugout beneath the house her father had dug. It was a tunnel of sorts that served as a bomb shelter.
One day, an Iranian jet flew over undetected by radar, so no sirens warned the people of its coming. Suddenly, Halla remembers, there was an explosion in the sky and debris fell on their roof. She doesn’t know if the Iranian jet was hit or if it was something else.
“They didn’t care if they bombed homes,” Halla says. “If they saw lights, they would bomb it.”
The dangers of the war and the dangers of Muslims terrorists weren’t the only hazards. The family feared Saddam Hussein himself, who had the custom of personally visiting schools and asking students what their parents thought of him. If the kids unwittingly responded unfavorably, a death squad was dispatched immediately.
“My parents would sit us down every day and coach us on what to say or not say if Saddam Hussein visited our school that day,” Halla remembers. “If we didn’t say exactly the right thing, we would be assassinated.” Read the rest: Halla Mahler Thousand Oaks