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For Liberated Iraqi Christians, Still a Bleak Christmas

But soon after their hometown fell to the Islamic State, their husbands died. The two widows, old friends, found themselves living together, and facing together the brutality of new rulers who stole their money and demanded they renounce their faith and convert to Islam.

“Sometimes we prayed, and sometimes we cried,” said Ms. Gigues, who is blind and largely deaf, in a recent interview after Qaraqosh was liberated and the security forces found her. “We talked about our husbands, our memories, our children, what it was like when we were young.”

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