Only On 7: Bay Area non-profit works to help ISIS refugees

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- A movement to help Christians targeted by the Islamic terrorists known as ISIS is stepping up in the South Bay. In a story you'll only see on ABC7 News, we have an inside look at what is being done to help ISIS refugees find safety in the Bay Area.

A non-profit group called "Mothers Against Murder" has primarily focused on local victims of violence. But now its scope has broadened internationally. It is offering help to families under the thumb of ISIS, to apply for asylum here in the U.S.

Margaret Petros has spent over 20 years working as an advocate for victims of violent crimes. The past few months, she has shifted her attention to helping victims of the terror Christians are facing at the hands of ISIS in Iraq.

"It's a genocide," she said. "They have really attacked an ethnic minority due to their religious belief and gave them an ultimatum: you either convert or you will be beheaded."

That kind of fear has gripped families of Assyrian and Chaldean heritage; Christians whom ISIS has targeted.

ABC7 News was there while Petros talked on the phone with one of them, who, who entered the U.S. with a visa two months ago and is now seeking asylum. To protect her identity, we'll call her Shoshan.

Shoshan and her family were among an estimated 250,000 Christians who left Mosul in Iraq as ISIS took over, seeking safety in Kurdistan. But ISIS caught up with them.

"They got stuck on the road for many hours and they were stopped by ISIS and searched," Petros said. "All their valuables were taken away, including her wedding ring."

Shoshan fears returning home because of ISIS. She is expecting a baby boy in three months and is in hiding. She has undergone therapy here because of the murders and other acts of terrorism she has seen.

Isis paints an Arabic symbol meaning Nazareth, or followers of Christ, on the homes of Christians. Eviction often follows.

She told us by phone how much she wants to stay and give birth here.

While acting as interpreter for Shoshan, Petros said, "It's crucial for her that her son be born here in a safe country because the fear back there is just so tremendous."

Shoshan's husband remains in Iraq, but the hope is for him to come to the U.S. if Shoshan is granted asylum.
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