Skokie woman named a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for Iraqi Christian humanitarian work

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Skokie resident has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to help the Christian communities in Iraq and those who have been displaced to other countries in the region due to violence.

Juliana Taimoorazy is the founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council. Since 2007 the nonprofit has raised millions of dollars to provide food, water, shelter and other necessities to Christians in Iraq and in the region.

She said she's honored to have received the nomination.

"The reaction from my fellow Americans, from the Assyrian community, has been so tremendous that I really pray and hope that this will be something that we can bring home," she said while surrounded by Assyrian artifacts housed at an exhibit at the Oriental Institute Museum.

She said she has also been on a mission to educate people around the world about Iraqi Christian persecution.

"We're members of one human body and if we don't stand with those who are suffering, who is going to stand with us when we start to suffer," she said.

Taimoorazy is motivated by her experiences in her native Iran. The Assyrian Christian said her family was targeted because of their faith after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

"In school they would try to force me to convert to Islam," she said. "My parents smuggled me out of Iran in 1989 into Switzerland."

Her family eventually settled in the U.S. And for that, she's grateful.

"There are millions of people lining up to come this country as we seen at our southern border or through the immigration system. There is a reason for that," Taimoorazy said.

If Taimoorazy receives the Nobel Peace Prize, she said the award money will help further her efforts to help people in need. She said the announcement is scheduled for October 8.
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