For Nayyef Hrebid, an Iraqi translator for the U.S. military, and Btoo Allami, an Iraqi army soldier, love has conquered all. Both stating love at first sight, the two met in 2003 during the Iraq War. Not only was the relationship between Hrebid and Allami illegal, it also could have led to murder. ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria have killed over 40 men “accused of homosexuality.”

Photo via New Now Next
Photo via New Now Next

Nothing was going to keep this couple apart, despite having to keep their love a secret. Hrebid was granted asylum in the United States, freeing him from the oppression of Iraq, but unable to bring Allami with him. Allami escaped to Lebanon, hiding there for over four years. Despite the distance, the two stayed together, spending every day together on Skype. They are now reunited in the United States, and their love story was featured in the June 2016 documentary “Out of Iraq” on the Logo network

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres brought Allami and Hrebid onto her show Thursday to honor the couple as “Everyday Heroes.” Now living in Seattle, Washington, the two are married and live paycheck to paycheck saving up to buy a home while helping LGBT refugees find safety in America. 

Gay Iraqi couple military
Photo via ellentube

Image publishing company Shutterfly has partnered with “Ellen” to reward those working toward an empowering cause. For their dedication and commitment to helping refugees, Allami and Hrebid were presented with a $25,000 check from Shutterfly during their interview with DeGeneres. 

 “Shutterfly’s vision is to make the world a better place by helping people share life’s joy–whether it’s by helping pay for college or encouraging kids to read by donating money to a school’s library!” according to the “Ellen” website.

Watch the full interview to hear their heartwarming story of how love wins.