Monday, November 8, 2010

Very much like us…

Well, I thought I had laid it to rest for a while…this stuff about Islam and the Mosque and the belief that there ARE moderate Muslims who do abhor terrorism…and that it is only the perversion of Islam that transforms it into a religion of hate.  But stuff keeps coming to my attention…

In the Sunday paper a few weeks ago…in The Parade Magazine… there was an article about a Muslim family who immigrated to Lincoln, Nebraska. Naef and Suad and their seven children fled to the US from Baghdad, leaving behind a construction and restoration business, after a kidnapping and death threats. The article does not reveal their last name because of concerns about the safety of family still in Iraq. (Something to keep in mind when leveling the criticism that moderate Muslims in the US do not speak out vehemently enough against terrorism.  Perhaps some are reluctant because of the threat to family still in Iraq)

Weekdays, the four older children are on the school bus at 6:30 a.m. Naef and Suad spend their days studying English and doing volunteer work (a requirement for some government benefits). On weekends, the family goes to Pioneers Park and barbecues. The kids have even sampled the delights of Chuck E. Cheese on a few special occasions.

They are unemployed at this point…but are seeking work…learning English and adapting to a culture very different from their native homeland.

When you think of diversity, Lincoln, Nebraska is probably not the first city that comes to mind but….

Because of the city’s size, relatively stable economy, and educational opportunities (it’s home to the main campus of the University of Nebraska), the U.S. State Department designated Lincoln—current population 250,000—as “refugee friendly” in the 1970s. Thousands of Vietnamese refugees were resettled there, and waves of immigrants from other countries followed. Lincoln’s public schools now include children speaking 52 languages.

That is so cool.  For the most part the city has welcomed the estimated 5000 to 7000 Iraqis who’ve chosen the Lincoln area as their home in the last 15 years.

The article also tells about a few other Iraqi families who live in Lincoln…and the blending process that has taken place there.  It is a real life example and puts an “a lot like us” face on the Iraqi immigrants who have come to our country. 



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