US to Iraqi Nun: Stay Out, We Don’t Trust You

by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  •  May 4, 2015   

The State Department is blocking an Iraqi nun from speaking in the US about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East

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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2015 ( – The U.S. government is blocking Sister Diana Momeka, an Iraqi nun who's also an internationally renowned speaker on religious freedom and human rights, from coming to the United States to speak about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

Sister Momeka is reportedly “a charismatic and articulate advocate for religious freedom and human rights.” Former Congressman Frank Wolf states, “We had hoped to facilitate her trip to the States so that she could speak with great candor, as is her custom, to policymakers. Perhaps just as significantly, we viewed her as a critical voice to awaken the church in the West to the suffering of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.”

The State Department won't grant her a visa, though, because it claims she might be lying about only planning to visit. The government says she may actually intend to stay in the country. In other words, it allegedly suspects she's being deceptive.

However, according to Nina Shea of National Review:

In reality, Sister Diana wanted to visit for one week in mid-May. She has meetings set up with the Senate and House foreign-relations committees, the State Department, USAID, and various NGOs. In support of her application, Sister Diana had multiple documents vouching for her and the temporary nature of her visit. She submitted a letter from her prioress, Sister Maria Hana. It attested that the nun has been gainfully employed since last February with the Babel College of Philosophy and Theology in Erbil, Kurdistan, and is contracted to teach there in the 2015–16 academic year.

She also submitted an invitation from her sponsors, two highly respected Washington-area institutions, the Institute for Global Engagement and former congressman Frank Wolf’s (R., Va.) 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. For good measure, she also had a letter of endorsement for her visit from Representative Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.).

In spite of the overwhelming evidence that Sr. Momeka's visit would only be for a week, the U.S. government ostensibly remains concerned that she will seek political asylum and try to stay.

Meanwhile, every single one of the other members in an Iraqi delegation of minority groups has been given a visa to have meetings in the nation's capitol.


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