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development in the Dallas suburbs. The room is decorated in a medieval theme, and Clemens is perched in a gothic armchair he calls his “throne.” The Iraqi men are dressed similarly: crisp blue jeans, sporty jackets, ball caps. Saad says he’s tried looking for a job, but has had trouble figuring out how to go about it. He was at a loss when he was advised, “Look at .” With degrees in computer engineering, English, and French, he came to the United States expecting to find a job in one of his fields. No luck so far. “What I need is just a chance to work, to survive, to rent an apartment, so I will be able to bring the rest of my family here from Iraq,” he says. Raad arrived in October. Three months later, he was waiting for his work permit, which he needs before he can start job-hunting legally. His cash assistance, $445 a month, is about to be cut off. Meanwhile, he says, he worries about his 8-year-old daughter back in Iraq. Clemens says his reason for helping the men is simple: “It’s the right thing to do.” In his case, “Religion plays nothing into this,” he says. As for his wife’s opinion of having three Iraqi men move in with them, Clemens pats the arms of his “throne” as a reminder of where he is seated. So far, he says he’s spent more than $20,000 helping the brothers: sending money to Iraq after their home was bombed, bringing them under his wing in Dallas and housing them while trying to help them find jobs. “But this isn’t my job,” Clemens says. His savings are depleted, and two more relatives are on their way to America. Saad and Raad listen to their host, their eyes fixed on the rug. “This is snowballing into a much bigger monster than I can handle,” Clemens says. LITTLE BAGHDAD is still largely invisible, spread out across slum apartment buildings and middle-class developments. While Dallas will never have an Iraqi community as sizable as Little Saigon in Houston, a community will emerge. And one of its anchors will probably be Salah al Bagdadi. At Zituna World Foods in Richardson, Salah emerges from behind a counter of pastries in a tall, white baker’s toque. He was a reform activist during Saddam’s regime, and when his life was threatened, he left Iraq and lived in Yemen and Jordan. When his permit ran out in Jordan, he says he was put in a small prison cell with 30 others for 33 days. In 2008, he was offered resettlement to the United States. He hesitated. He imagined marauders drinking in the streets and the corruption of his daughters. Salah had little choice but to come anyway. For four months, he didn’t get his Social Security card and could not look for work. That bad patch is over, but things are hardly comfortable. “There is a certain standard I refuse to live under,” Salah says. “If I have extra money, I buy whatever I can for the house … to keep my dignity.” His wife, Haifa, is working as a hairdresser, and his daughter is a cashier in the salon. With three wage-earners, the family is able to scrape by. When he talks to his brother back home, Salah tells him it’s not that bad in the United States. It took seven months, but Salah found a job doing the work he loves. He once owned pastry shops in Iraq and Yemen. Now he’s showing off the boilers and ovens in the back of the Arabic grocery where he works. Though he’s only been here two months, the growing Iraqi community has started buying up his flatbread and pastries. Soon enough they’ll need a bakery of their own. El Salah al Bagdadi, who owned pastry shops in Iraq and Yemen, now offers sweets at Zituna World Foods in Richardson. Between 2006 and 2009, 2,822 Iraqis officially resettled in Texas. Thousands more are on the way. MARCH 5, 2010 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11