Tags: Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | Religion | War on Terrorism | Hudson Institute | Nina Shea | Iraqi nun

Religious Freedom Center: State Dept Tries to Conceal Nun's Visa Denial

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2015 08:29 PM

The State Department is trying to discredit a report on the visa rejection of an Iraqi nun who wants to testify about the persecution of Christians to "cover up" its politically disastrous decision, says Nina Shea, of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.

In a commentary for National Review, Shea, who also is a contributor for the Christian Post, says a State Department spokeswoman objected to Shea's account of Sister Diana Momeka's talk with Christopher Patch, an officer with the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, about the rejection.

"I am asked to remove his name because, according to the email sent to me, [Patch] 'did not conduct a visa interview with Sister Diana Momeka,'" Shea writes.

But neither Sister Diana nor Shea ever said he did, Shea writes.

"The State Department is apparently trying to cover up an embarrassing, politically damaging, and possibly discriminatory act," Shea argues.

According to Shea, Patch merely told the nun why her visa application was denied: she was classified as an "internally displaced person" or IDP, "presumably more liable to overstay a visa and settle illegally in this country."

Yet, Shea points out, Momeka teaches at the Babel College for Philosophy and Theology in Iraq, "and the temporary nature of the visit she has applied for is vouched for by the prioress of her community, as well as by a member of Congress and others."

"The Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena have an established, 150-year-old presence in Iraq and are committed to helping the remaining displaced Christians of that country."

Momeka was supposed to have been part of a delegation that would testify before Congress about religious persecution in Iraq. Representatives of two other religious communities in the region, the Yazidi and the Shia Turkmen, were granted visas, Shea reports.

Momeka's case has drawn the ire of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is calling for a congressional investigation, and Frank Wolf, of the 21st Century Wilberforce Institute and a former congressman from Virginia.

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The State Department is trying to discredit a report on the visa rejection of an Iraqi nun who wants to testify about the persecution of Christians to "cover up" its politically disastrous decision, says Nina Shea, of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.
Hudson Institute, Nina Shea, Iraqi nun, visa, denied, State Department, persecution, Christians
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2015-29-04
Monday, 04 May 2015 08:29 PM
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