America’s newest immigrant Muslims, th …
Morad takes pride in speaking about the man he used to be in Iraq. “I had a nice, big house,” he says. “I could get for my family whatever they want.”
Here, when he needed clothing and blankets for his family — which is shivering through its first Utah winter — he says he was told to visit a second-hand shop. It was humbling, but he did it.
When Morad complained that he could not find a job and needed money to pay his bills, he said a state worker suggested he go wait outside a church or mosque and beg for money. But that was too much for his pride to bear.
“To ask for money like some poor man?” he asks, his eyes redden and fill with tears. “I need help, yes. I am poor now, yes. But must I beg? Is this America? Is this what I gave my legs for?”
Morad drops his head into hands. “Sometimes I think that suicide is good for me,” he cries.
The anger and despair related in this story is representative of what I hear among the refugees I know in my area. My friends complain that the US Shiite community (the refugees are mixed Sunni/Shia, but on balance there are more Shiites) has far less money and therefore far fewer mosques and community centers in the US than Sunnis, so finding comfort in religious community has been more difficult.
- There are people of different religious backgrounds coming too. Some refugee agencies have focused on bringing over Mandaean refugees, who were introduced to me and described in the newspaper as “Christians” but are something else entirely.