Ahlam’s Story

A Disappearance in Damascus

Ahlam began her life in Iraq. She was required to flee her country after being kidnapped by al-Queda for running a humanitarian aid center after the war. She fled to Syria and became a “fixer” (someone who provides Western media with trustworthy information and contacts to help obtain the news story). In addition to being a fixer, Ahlam started a girls and then a boys school in her apartment for Iraqi refugee children. The Syrian authorities became suspicious of her activities and imprisoned her for five months. Her international media and government colleagues and friends searched to find her. Once found and released from imprisonment, she was required to leave Syria within 24 hours. She and her children were political refugees and resettled in Chicago, IL, USA. Ahlam earned her U.S. citizenship in 2013 and continues her humanitarian work with ICNA Relief Chicago and Building Peaceful Bridges. Read more about Ahlam’s story.

On October 17, 2019, Ahlam (al-Jabori) Mahmood, co-founder of Building Peaceful Bridges, presented at 80 Minutes Around the World at the Wilmette Theatre. She shares her harrowing story of becoming a refugee in Syria after al-Qaeda forced her, her husband, and their three children to leave their home country of Iraq. Listen to her inspiring and compelling journey of Syrian refugee life, a friendship between two women, and beginning a new life in the United States.

Two Minute Clip

Full Video


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