Mother fears for daughter's life in Iraq

Times Series: Fatemeh Mohammad, 75, with Director of Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK, Laila Jazayeri Fatemeh Mohammad, 75, with Director of Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK, Laila Jazayeri

AN ELDERLY mother has spoken of her anguish as she fears for her daughter’s life following a violent attack in Iraq.

Fatemeh Mohammad, 75, said she “cries all alone” at her home in Hendon, thinking about her daughter Maryam Mohammad, 49, in Camp Ashraf which was attacked by the Iraqi Army.

It was reported on April 8 the army shot unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf, leaving 34 dead and hundreds more injured.

Director of Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK, Laila Jazayeri said: “They attacked the camp with heavy machine guns, armoured vehicles and automatic guns and grenades, targeting the heads and chests of our loved ones deliberately to kill.”

Fatemah said she nearly fainted when she heard the news and despite her daughter surviving the incident, she mourns for the loss of those “who have suffered”.

Camp Ashraf has become an icon of hope for a free democratic Iran and is occupied by 3,400 members of the Iranian resistance, Peoples of Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) including Fatemeh’s daughter Maryam.

The movement has been based in Iraq since the 1980s and raises awareness about human rights violations in Iran and calls for an end to what it refers to as a "two-year-long inhumane siege of Ashraf”, suppressing residents and limiting supplies including medication.

Fatemeh was born in Iran but moved to Watford Way in Hendon 25 years ago with her late husband Pedar Mohammad after members of the Iranian regime realised they were supporters of PMOI.

The couple had been visiting their two sons and Maryam who were living in England, when they received a phone call from a family friend warning them not to return to Iran.

Fatemeh said: “We were a very wealthy family with four different flats, eight shops, I had a top of the range car and we had a nice lifestyle.

“But the Iranian guards had confiscated everything we owned. “My friend said if we went back we would be arrested and it would be the end.”

Whilst living with her mother and father in Hendon, Maryam decided to join the liberation movement PMOI in Camp Ashraf.

Fatemeh said: “Maryam left about 20 years ago – She has always had a character to want to help people. “She told me she wanted to bring about change for her country and said she must go.”

Fatemeh last saw Maryam seven years ago when she had visited the camp and since then she has only spoken to her daughter twice because there is limited means of communication in Camp Ashraf.

Fatemeh said: “She called once in 2008 and once in 2009 telling me she is so happy there and she is having the best life.

“In the last call she told me not to worry but as a mother, even though she is grown up, she is still my baby and I do worry.”

Anglo-Iranians living in the borough are concerned Camp Ashraf could be attacked again. Ms Jazayeri said: “The Iraqi army has taken over part of the camp.

“They have also stopped drugs, medication and medical equipment from going into the camp.

“Something has to be done to put a stop to this.”

Despite finding it difficult to walk, Fatemeh protests almost every day alongside hundreds of fellow Anglo-Iranians outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and US Embassy in Westminster calling for the protection of exiles in Camp Ashraf.

Comments (4)

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8:23pm Wed 27 Apr 11

hannah11 says...

Many Barnet residents have loved ones in Camp Ashraf. My sister is there now and she was one of the young women attacked there on April 8 2011. She went to school in Barnet, she grew up in Barnet. She is only 29 now.

It is good that the Times highlights the case of relatives suffering in Barnet due to the massacre that has taken place in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, this month and also in 2009.

It is important that we keep sustained pressure on the UK government and on the US so that they help those who are injured and still awaiting medical treatment receive the care they need. We must also keep up pressure until the residents of Ashraf are provided protection by US or UN forces, as Iraqi and Iranian thugs are intent on attacking them and destroying the only real opposition to the Iranian regime.
Many Barnet residents have loved ones in Camp Ashraf. My sister is there now and she was one of the young women attacked there on April 8 2011. She went to school in Barnet, she grew up in Barnet. She is only 29 now. It is good that the Times highlights the case of relatives suffering in Barnet due to the massacre that has taken place in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, this month and also in 2009. It is important that we keep sustained pressure on the UK government and on the US so that they help those who are injured and still awaiting medical treatment receive the care they need. We must also keep up pressure until the residents of Ashraf are provided protection by US or UN forces, as Iraqi and Iranian thugs are intent on attacking them and destroying the only real opposition to the Iranian regime. hannah11
  • Score: 0

12:56am Thu 28 Apr 11

Risingstorm says...

Thank you Natalie for your courageous stance in highlighting the plight of the people in camp Ashraf and their families. Many of us who live in Barnet are very concerned about the massacre in camp Ashraf which was on April 8, 2011. We are disgusted by our governments inaction. I personally phoned the British Embassy in Baghdad and Foreign office in London days before the attack, begging them to do something, and now they pretend as if they did not know anything about it. I was disgusted by Alistair Burt position in yesterday's debate in commons over the issue of Ashraf. There are many Iranians who live in Barnet which are appalled by their disgraceful position and not putting enough pressure on the Iraqi government which was installed there by our tax payers money and many of our boys gave their lives with hope that democracy would prevail in Iraq , but now it has become slaughter house.
Thank you Natalie for your courageous stance in highlighting the plight of the people in camp Ashraf and their families. Many of us who live in Barnet are very concerned about the massacre in camp Ashraf which was on April 8, 2011. We are disgusted by our governments inaction. I personally phoned the British Embassy in Baghdad and Foreign office in London days before the attack, begging them to do something, and now they pretend as if they did not know anything about it. I was disgusted by Alistair Burt position in yesterday's debate in commons over the issue of Ashraf. There are many Iranians who live in Barnet which are appalled by their disgraceful position and not putting enough pressure on the Iraqi government which was installed there by our tax payers money and many of our boys gave their lives with hope that democracy would prevail in Iraq , but now it has become slaughter house. Risingstorm
  • Score: 0

12:59am Thu 28 Apr 11

Moses1 says...

Congratulations to Natalie and The Hendon and Finchley Times for highlighting this issue.

The crimes committed by Nuri Al-Maliki at Camp Ashraf were a crime against humanity and he must be brought before international courts and tried for the massacre of unarmed civilians. Iraq under Al-Maliki is nothing but a puppet of the Iranian regime.

The silence of Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama is shameful. British and US troops died in Iraq to create a democratic state not to replace one dictator with another.

It is the UK's duty as a member of the Coalition and the US which has tens of thousands of troops stationed in Iraq to protect this group of Iranian dissidents whose sole aim is to bring freedom and democracy to their homeland and rid the world of an Iranian regime which threatens the entire world.
Congratulations to Natalie and The Hendon and Finchley Times for highlighting this issue. The crimes committed by Nuri Al-Maliki at Camp Ashraf were a crime against humanity and he must be brought before international courts and tried for the massacre of unarmed civilians. Iraq under Al-Maliki is nothing but a puppet of the Iranian regime. The silence of Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama is shameful. British and US troops died in Iraq to create a democratic state not to replace one dictator with another. It is the UK's duty as a member of the Coalition and the US which has tens of thousands of troops stationed in Iraq to protect this group of Iranian dissidents whose sole aim is to bring freedom and democracy to their homeland and rid the world of an Iranian regime which threatens the entire world. Moses1
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Sat 30 Apr 11

PhilofEB says...

Thank you to the Times for highlighting this atrocity. It is ironic that the USA still has the PMOI on its list of terrorist organisations and Iraq use this as a reason for their action. The US Government has been ordered to review this proscription by the US Courts. They need to remove the PMOI from the list, secure medical attention for the injured of Camp Ashraf, and resume the security role for the camp until a permanent solution can be arranged by the UN.
Thank you to the Times for highlighting this atrocity. It is ironic that the USA still has the PMOI on its list of terrorist organisations and Iraq use this as a reason for their action. The US Government has been ordered to review this proscription by the US Courts. They need to remove the PMOI from the list, secure medical attention for the injured of Camp Ashraf, and resume the security role for the camp until a permanent solution can be arranged by the UN. PhilofEB
  • Score: 0
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