…said the Ayatollah Khomeini.
“Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” — Ayatollah KhomeiniÂ
*Â Misunderstanders of Islam murder clowns for entertaining childrenÂ
Raham, Ali and Safi perform in a warehouse used by the UNÂ
Exiled Iraqi clowns cheer refugees
By Lina Sinjab
BBC News, Damascus
Rahman, Ali and Safi are members of Happy Family Clowns group, established in 2004 to put smiles on the faces of Iraqi children.
A few months ago the group started receiving death threats warning them against continuing their show, entitled A Child is as Scared as a Country.
But the clowns kept going, until two members of the troupe were murdered.
This was enough to drive the surviving three to leave Iraq.
“We don’t know why they targeted us. We were entertaining children,” says Rahman.
Like many thousands of fearful Iraqis, Rahman and his fellow clowns left their home and fled to Syria.
Not knowing what awaited them in Syria, they went to the UN refugee agency to register and ended up working with the UNHCR to entertain refugee children.
Despite all efforts to provide security in Iraq, large numbers of Iraqis are still fleeing the country, with about 1,000 reportedly crossing into Syria daily, where they join a population of more than one million.
The group hopes to be able to develop its repertoire, and maybe even travel the world giving performances.
“I miss Iraq but I cannot go back. We are afraid we will be killed… That’s our destiny,” said Rahman.