GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A man born and raised in Iraq ended up serving the U.S., the country that attacked his homeland. Qaid Abokader worked as a linguist embedded with the Marines during the war in Iraq. Now, he is a U.S. citizen and a business owner living in the Triad.
"I've been called a traitor because I worked for the Marines," Abokader said. "If I ever felt like I was betraying my country, I would have never taken that job. I felt like I was fortunate going to help."
His family still lives in Iraq, including his parents, who told him they hope the violence with ISIS stops soon.
"Every time I see the TV, I'm just bleeding from inside. I mean, I have family still there, but I was fortunate my family like way in the south. So, they are in the safer area, but my heart goes to the people up north," Abokader said. "They hate it so bad and they wish it would be over."
He said he's disappointed in his native country.
"I'm ashamed because of what ISIS is doing to Iraq or what's our government, the Iraqi government cannot handle the situation," he said. "I want Iraq to be like one of the countries people they think of going to visit."
Abokader lived in Iraq until he was 28 years old. He worked as a linguist for the U.S. Marines from 2003 until 2008. Then he came to the U.S. where he got a job working as a linguist for the Department of Defense. He served with the Marines again until he left the department in 2010. He said he worked mostly in the western part of Iraq where the conflict is right now.
"Some people they are trained to be extremists and when they go to extremists...they think they're doing something to make God happy and this is not Islam," Abokader said. "Islam is not talking about killing other people or other Muslims."
He said he hopes, "ISIS will be put to justice that's the first thing I hope and I hope there's no sectarian war in Iraq."
He said he begged his parents to move to the U.S., but they can't because of their old age.
On Monday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. would continue to provide aid to Iraq. He said progress is being made such as the recapture of the nation's largest dam near Mosul from ISIS insurgents.
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