Ethnically & Religiously Diverse Iraqi Delegation to Visit Washington / But NO Christian representative as nun has visa refused

Basnews | Luke Coleman – 02.05.2015 – BAGHDAD – A diverse Iraqi delegation is to travel to Washington to address the House and Senate foreign relations committees and have meeting with officials at the State Department, USAID, and various NGOs. They were invited by the Institute for Global Engagement and former congressman Frank Wolf’s 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.

However, one of the proposed delegation has been refused a visa, as officials decided that Dominican Sister Diana Momeka doesn’t have “ties that will compel [her] to return to [her] home country after [her] travel to the United States.” Nina Shea, of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, said, “Earlier this week, we learned that every member of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups, including representatives of the Yazidi and Turkmen Shia religious communities, has been granted visas to come for official meetings in Washington — save one. The single delegate whose visitor visa was denied happens to be the group’s only Christian from Iraq.

“Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena was informed on Tuesday by the U.S. consulate in Erbil that her non-immigrant visa application has been rejected. The reason given in the denial letter, a copy of which I have obtained, is:

“You were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa.”

State Department spokesperson Nicole Thompson said that they cannot comment on individual cases. “While Section 222(f) of the INA prohibits us from disclosing details from individual visa cases, the State Department is very concerned about the safety and rights of members of Iraq’s minority populations, including Christians, as we are for all Iraqis. “Protecting these communities in the face of the existential threat [that Islamic State] poses is a part of our regular diplomatic engagement, as well as one of the priorities of our counter-IS strategy and of the 62-nation international counter-IS coalition. “This coalition has come to the aid of minority communities and others by providing humanitarian assistance, conducting a campaign of coordinated airstrikes, military assistance, diplomatic engagement, and intelligence and messaging coordination.”