Kurdish student advocates independence of Kurdistan in Taiwan
|Hawbash Muradi hopes peple in Taiwan pay more attention to international news. Photo: Hawbash Muradi|
By Viola Shen(沈岱蓉)
As a Kurdish Iraqi student studying diplomacy at the National Chengchi University (NCCU), Hawbash Muradi was often asked to answer questions regarding the situation in the Middle East.
He is planning to open an office advocating the independence for the Kurdish Region in Taiwan.
“People around me know the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), but they do not necessarily know the truth,” Muradi said. He said that the majority of people in Taiwan only know that ISIS as a brutal terrorist group and killed a lot of people, but they are not aware of relevant issues.
“It is still better than some Americans, who know absolutely nothing,” he added. “It helps if more people know and care about the situation.”
With more concern and knowledge about the situation in the Middle East, Muradi said that he believed that the public would have fewer misunderstandings about the Iraqi people.
Muradi studied at a university in Iraq before he came to Taiwan. He said that studying abroad is a trendy thing to do in the Kurdish region because the educational quality is low in Iraq.
“I think most people in Iraq would study in Europe. I want to learn mandarin, so I applied for scholarships to study in Taiwan,” he said.
He said that he was often asked whether all the Iraqi people were terrorists. “Of course not! Not every Muslim is extreme, and not every person from the Middle Eastern countries is part of terrorists’ groups.”
“There have fewer news about ISIS recently because media did not report them,” Muradi said. “The issue has been in existence since June last year, but not many people wanted to read those news again and again. ISIS is still an active terrorist group in the Middle East and has recently occupied Ramadi, an important city in central Iraq.”
Muradi shared his first-hand information regarding ISIS on his Facebook page and was viewed by more than 3,000 people. He also received 107 comments on the article.
“I went back to Iraq to visit my family in July last year, when ISIS controlled Mosul. Their brutal actions had shocked the world,” Muradi said.
According to Muradi, Mosul was the second largest city in Iraq and the capital of Ninawa Province. It fell on June 10 last year to ISIS, a Salafi-Jihadi organization in the Middle East.
Many countries were surprised by the fall of Mosul and the subsequent blitz with which ISIS took over other Sunni- majority cities, he said.
Muradi said that Kurdish Yazidi, one of Iraq’s oldest minorities, were forced in July to flee to the Mount Sinjar in the Iraqi northwestern region, or face slaughter by an encircling group of ISIS jihadists.
|Muradi shares his first-hand information regarding ISIS to NCCU Journal. Photo: Hawbash Muradi|
Statistics from the local officials showed that at least 500 Yazidis had been killed, including 40 children.
“I then enlisted myself to be a volunteer soldier then,” Muradi said.
Muradi’s father is a government official, and his brother is a soldier. “I wanted to fight with my brother. Therefore I enlisted,” he said.
“Although the Kurdish region is far safer than many other places in Iraq, we were also affected,” he said.
Because of the situation with ISIS, Muradi said that the Kurdish government spent most of its budget on national defense. As such, government workers like Muradi’s father received salary once every three months.
“Refugees from cities controlled by ISIS and Syria rushed into the Kurdish region. And they are all willing to work in wages lower than ours. Even citizens who live far away from the war zone suffer,” he said.
Muradi noted that the Kurdish people always to be independent from Iraq.
“Due to economic reasons, we can’t break away from Iraq. Other than that, we have every element necessary to form a country,” he said.
He added that the Kurdish region has its own government, prime minister and parliament while the Iraqi government is not willing to let it become an independent nation.
Muradi said that the Kurdistan Government sells oil through pipeline to Turkey and to the rest of the world, but the money they earned is saved in the Turkish Bank in order to prevent conflicts between the Turkish and Iraqi Government. “The Turkish Government can’t give us the money earned by oil directly for diplomatic reasons,” he said.
Muradi also said that Iraqi government still controls the budget to the Kurdish region, adding that the Iraqi Constitution also states that 17 percent of the government’s revenue goes to the Kurdish region.
According to Muradi, the continuous war with ISIS had caused the Kurdish region to receive only 11 percent of the budget last year, and many infrastructure projects had to stop because of a shortage in fund.
“ISIS is barbaric and brutal and should definitely be destroyed,” he said. “Although I am not religious, I think that what they are doing is anti- Muslim.”
Muradi said that ISIS attacks anyone that came in their way, Christians and Muslims alike.
“Different from Al-Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorists groups, they aim to establish a state, the ‘Islamic State,’ ” he said.
To understand the upheaval in the Middle East, Muradi said that people should never believe in one news source.
“Please pay more attention to international news,” he said.