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  • NNC 1:50 AM on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    New Places, Interesting Faces 

    Every town we visit is different: the culture, the unity of the Muslim community, and most importantly, the people. Only after exploring each town did we discover those differences. Fayetteville was different.
    Our first stop in the city was a mosque in a quietly dangerous part of town. Most places around were either houses or small shops with caged windows. We brushed these judgments aside, however, and found Masjid Omar Ibn Said, named after African-born Muslim slave and scholar Omar Ibn Said. The mosque looked nice on the exterior but it was closed, even though we were there at prayer time. A local tire shop owner told us he only sees people there on Fridays at noon. Disappointed, we drove a few feet down the road to discover another mosque, Al-Furqan. This was a small house with caged doors and windows. The name of the mosque was painted green on the sides of the building, along with a few decorated bricks and the name of Allah. The mosque looked like it was occasionally used and the neighbor (and landowner) confirmed this for us.
     
  • NNC 5:09 AM on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Outcast 

    In every place I find myself, I have been blessed to have an accepting Muslim community around me ( Thrice Displaced). The problem is I don’t have much to be judged for. I am male, Arab, and well-achieving academically. I thank God for those things, but I sometimes desire to empathize with those born or made less fortunate. Their struggles are a large part of what defines them and makes them stronger. These struggles may, however, also alienate them.
     
    • NNC 1:31 PM on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ahmed,

      This is a great post; I think it really speaks to the issue many Muslim communities encounter today. When a fellow believer wants to convert, the Muslim community welcomes the convert as one of their own. But what happens after a brother embraces Islam? Unfortunately, what I have observed throughout my life is that many Mosques forget to follow up with the brother. The Muslim community gets caught up with their personal lives that they do not dedicate time to loving, helping, and teaching the new Muslim brother.

      -Rasheed Alhadi

  • NNC 4:18 AM on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Pleasantly Unexpected Series of Events 

    The path that life takes us can be a scary thought. Your qadr (destiny) is divine and pre-ordained. Although this might seem counterintuitive to people like me who try their hardest to make sure everything goes according to plan, I have always understood that, in a way, I can achieve success through perseverance even if it is supposed to be already ordained. This is especially difficult at such a young age when making decisions could irreversibly affect my life. Everything may be written but how it plays it is a mystery to us. In a way, we all took drastically different paths to come together either reading this blog or in the same physical, mental, or religious state.

    I experienced the magnificent lives of a man and a family today that show that life can sometimes be a pleasant plethora of events, even if those events are not. Driving into Charlotte, we headed directly to Masjid Al-Shaheed, a predominantly African-American mosque, where we were welcomed nicely and comfortably. After prayer and a short lesson by Imam Khaleel, we naturally started conversations with people in the mosque. You could immediately sense the feeling of community as each nomad conversed with a different person, each with their unique and awe-inspiring life experiences. I naturally talked to an inviting man beside me. I could see by his face that he has gone through a lot in his lifetime and his story was just as brightening as his smile and attitude. I started conveying my life story, spurring him to do the same. He later admitted that he is more of a listener than talker, but today was different.

    (More …)

     
  • NNC 2:20 AM on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Thrice Displaced 

    If you were asked the difference between ‘home’ and ‘house,’ what would you say? My home isn’t limited by physical limitations. I feel at home when I’m around my family and friends and when I am comfortable in my surroundings. Duke, for example, can be defined as my home away from home not because of sub-par living conditions but because of the relationships I have formed there. A house, in contrast, is tied with physical limits; I have lived in a dorm, apartment, and house, but my home has stayed in the same place inside of me.

    (More …)

     
  • NNC 2:40 AM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Forgotten by the World 

    Coming to the US at the age of 9, I never really felt at home in this country. I heard stories from my grandparents and other relatives of how the Nakba (1948 war) forcibly removed them and millions of others from our ancestral homes; about a great-grandparent dying at the hand of an Israeli soldier playfully waving his rifle at an innocent prisoner; about my grandmother’s treasure chest of yellowing deeds and large dungeon-like keys that were once her prided home in Jaffa. Everyone in Palestine, and even those beyond, feels a continuous connection to the place we once and still do call home. The connection is fueled by heart-wrenching stories, painful memories, and that look of despair and hopelessness in someone’s eyes.

    Walking into the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, I did not expect to find this connection any more than I did living in the US for the past 10 years. Moreover, I would have expected it to be with a fellow Gazan, Palestinian, or Arab who lived in such a tumultuous region. Instead, it was with a Bosnian family who expressed their emotion in one of the most heart-felt stories that I have ever heard. Merdin, son of Saddat, translated to our group the struggles his family faced as Muslims in the Bosnian War. During the war, Saddat and his brother, also addressing us through Merdin, were captives in the most horrible years of their lives. There was no safety for Muslims anywhere in the country; they would be captured and beaten. Even hospitals were not a safe abode because people were killed there. For the pair, it was a shocking and eternally-disturbing scene. Worse yet, the crimes committed by the Serbs went into greater length. Merdin, at this point, warned us of the graphic nature of the next part of the experience. The brothers’ mother was raped in her own house during the war. The uncle and brother started crying while Merdin nerve-wrenchingly said this. After the two were imprisoned, they were beaten until they could not get up off the ground. After one guard would beat a prisoner senseless, he would leave the room and another guard would walk in. If the prisoner was still on the ground, he would instantly be shot to death. The uncle told us, pointing to his arm, that he was once beaten up so badly that his whole arms was blue and he could not move it, yet he saved his brother who was unconscious on the ground.

    Saddat (Left), Merdin (Center), Uncle (Right)

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    • shamoor 10:32 AM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, this is an amazing story Ahmed. You’ve been gone one day and already have this gem – that’s amazing!

    • Nadir Ijaz 11:22 AM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This is a really sad story – I can’t imagine how emotionally taxing it was for them to tell it and for you guys to hear it. This family has obviously been through a lot, but what bothers me more perhaps is that their struggle continued even after they came to the US. The police officer arresting Saddat because he found a Quran with him, etc. – this is just ridiculous and so scary to me. Did you guys get the feeling that these instances happened more because of a language barrier, and that had Saddat and his brother spoken English well they could have been avoided? Do you think this language barrier is part of the reason they feel that “Americans do not understand” – do they feel unable to talk to others about their stories? From talking to him, did you feel that Merdin was of the same point of view, that Americans in fact don’t understand? (I know you may not have directly asked these questions, so I understand if you don’t want to infer things, but I thought it would be interesting to ask.)

    • Nazia 12:30 PM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      wow guys. that is such an amazingly sad story. wish i could have been there to appreciate it even more. can’t wait for you guys to meet more people and share their stories with us!!

    • Safa Al-Saeedi 1:08 PM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This is really touching. It is honestly the first time for me to read a Bosnian personal story. It made me feel more connected to the struggle that our brothers and sisters had in Bosnia at that time. Thanks a lot, Ahmed for sharing such moving thoughts.

    • NNC 6:59 AM on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hopefully this can inspire emotions in us that can be impetus for change, thank you everyone for the empathetic words. Hopefully we can share more of these stories soon!

      Nadir, I wanted to share how I felt listening to them speak before answering your question. One of the first things Merdin said to us in that room is that this story is not told often because most people do not understand. They might scratch the surface of abuse and horror, but they do not uncover what this family had to deal with. Although I am not in the same situation, I connected with him immediately in that statement. It’s not that people do not understand what is said or how, they do not empathize at the same level. Maybe I felt a stronger sense of this feeling because of my background, and we all felt it because of a common religious somehow.

      The language barrier, I think, was a tool with which hateful people harrassed Saddat and his family. It did not cause these situations to happen, but it made them worse. It is sad to think that people in this country will imprison you because you can’t express your rights or pay you below minimum wage because you are new to this country. They were simply taken advantage of. Saddat and his family couldn’t talk to people because they distrusted them, not because they could not speak to them. Merdin thought the same way. He, at many times, said himself (without translating his father) that Americans do not understand. He knew he barely understood the struggles his own family went through, so how could they? How could the people that caused his family’s life so much hardship within the past decade to understand? Maybe that’s why as Muslims we connected easily Friday night. The Muslim community has given them so much comfort and a feeling of belonging that any Muslim can begin to understand their struggle. It was fortunate for us that the generosity of those Muslims allowed us to hear their story. We must learn from both Saddat’s family, through their pains and struggles, and through the generosity of the wonderful Muslim community in Winston-Salem.

      -Ahmed Alshareef

    • Adel Hamdan 11:11 PM on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Ahmad for this touching story especially it is was narrated by the people who were in the scene. I agree with you that the suffering of the Bosnian Muslims was harder than what our families and grandfathers faced in Palestine. Let us employ the emotions that came out from this story and the similar ones in doing something that may lessen or put an end for the suffering of Muslims and any oppressed human being in this world.

    • ali 7:58 AM on October 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      everthing , every situation in this wold is a test. these kind of situations are the hrder parts of the test. may allah save every human beings, from these kinds of tests. ameen

  • NNC 5:49 AM on October 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ahmed Alshareef   

    Salam and welcome to our blog We are… 

    Salam and welcome to our blog!

    We are excited to kick off this blog with only 5 days left until our fall break adventure begins. As we travel across North Carolina, we hope to provide ourselves (and you) with weird, interesting, and enlightening stories that will lead us to discussions, reflections, and connections. Hopefully, we can relate our experience through this blog as accurately as possible!

    Although we’re taking off in less than a week, we need something from YOU now! Do you know of any routes, people, places we should stop by in our adventures??? Know of any interesting/ controversial stories of Muslims or Muslim communities in North Carolina? Please share them with us either through commenting on this blog or sending us an email at dukemsaafb@gmail.com. You never know what might be helpful!

    Also, go ahead and like our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nomads-of-North-Carolina/162438797176449.

    Thank you for all your help and make sure you track our adventures!!

     
    • Nabila 8:31 PM on October 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m looking forward to reading your posts! I might have refreshed this page 3 times since yesterday. 🙂 Have fun!

      • NNC 9:35 AM on October 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        aww thanks, Nabila! Let us know what you think.
        -Nusy

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