Jordan: Refugee stories

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
Amman, Jordan

Marwan Abdullah misses Iraq. But he has no plans to go back.

"I would be killed for sure," the 18-year-old told me yesterday.

Abdullah was walking home from school in the Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad, he says, when a group of men grabbed him, blindfolded him and threw him into the back of a car. he still doesn't know who they were, but they might have targeted him because he is a Sabean Mandean, one of the small community of followers of John the Baptist that flourished in Iraq before the war.

Abdullah was held three days, he says; his family paid $15,000 for his release. Within the month, they were headed for Jordan.

When his father when back to Baghdad to sell the house, he was shot dead.

I heard several such stories yesterday, during my first interviews with Iraqis here in Jordan. As many as 500,000 have come to this country of 6 million; many have personal experience with the violence that has torn Iraq apart.