After Pressure, US Decides Persecuted Nun Can Visit After All

by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  •  May 11, 2015   

An Iraqi nun who the State Department wanted to keep out has been granted a visa after being questioned

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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2015 ( - The U.S. State Department has reversed course, deciding that an Iraqi nun to whom it previously had denied entry into the country can come after all.

Earlier this month, the government was claiming it feared Dominican Sister Diana Momeka was being deceptive in her bid to visit for a week of talks. It alleged she might end up trying to stay in the country by seeking political asylum.

Sister Momeka, who's been described as “a charismatic and articulate advocate for religious freedom and human rights,” had provided the State Department with ample evidence that her stay in the United States would only be temporary. She's been employed since February at the Babel College of Philosophy and Theology in Kurdistan, where she's already contracted to teach next year. She also received top-notch recommendations from U.S. politicians from both major parties.

Despite such proof of her stated motives for visiting, the U.S. government had denied her a visa. Meanwhile, all the other members of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups had been given one.

Now, after some public questioning, the State Department has backed down and is granting her entry.

Sister Momeka will be addressing a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee this month on the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East.


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