"Cover Story" piece on Portland's refugees with special focus on Tahseen Al-Shew


Laura Conaway


Casco Bay Weekly




12, 13, 14, 15


"Cover Story" piece on Portland's refugees with special focus on Tahseen Al-Shewaily, 34, an Iraqi refugee who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is presently in jail for allegedly firing a weapon at Portland police on March 27. Iraqis living in Portland who know Al-Shewaily say he suffers from 15 years of torture and fighting he experienced before coming to the United States. But refugee advocates such as Sandra Hollett of Catholic Charities Maine say the stigma about mental illness in some countries and language barriers might prevent new arrivals from seeking help. Reza Jalali, an Iranian Kurd who now works for the Muskie Institute in Augusta, said there is little political will to help refugees. And Victoria Mares Hershey, cultural affairs coordinator for the Portland police department, blamed part of the problem on Catholic Charities' outdated approach to handling new arrivals. Cumberland County sheriff Mark Dion said we tend to look at refugees in terms of housing and economic needs and neglect psychological needs.


Refugees, Tahseen Yasser Al-Shewaily

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