City of Residence:
“My interviewer—I think his name was Jim—he asked me, how about United States? Because I already spoke some English and I said fine, and he asked me which part of the country—and I didn’t know United States that well—I just said I don’t want to go to a big city because I had enough violence and killing and all that. And the image we got from the movies over there in Bosnia is big cities equals big crime, and so I said I don’t want to go to a big city. And at that time, Rochester, Minnesota, was I think voted number one in Money Magazine, and he had that magazine and he said, how about Rochester, Minnesota? And that’s how it worked out.
My sponsors, who were the sisters of Assisi Heights—it’s a monastery here in Rochester. It’s sort of like a nursing home for elderly sisters. And they helped me a lot. I owe a lot to them. Especially in the, you know, the emotional side, they were really there for me.
Being Muslim in Minnesota, I think it’s pretty easy to be a Muslim in Minnesota—in America in general—because Muslims don’t need much to be Muslims. It’s verypersonal and private religion. I think Islam works. It’s—it gives you structure in life, and structure is good, for most people, anyway. And in this country, basically then, you set your own pace, right? I mean, you do things your way, you pray whenever you need to pray, and I did that for a long time, I mean, and my employers would accommodate, so. I think it’s—it’s easy to be Muslim in Minnesota, it’s just you have to make your personal resolve with God.
The American people—probably know Muslims and see them every day, and maybe even work with them, they just don’t know it. And that’s the way it should be. The religion isn’t the only thing that defines people, I mean, that’s one of the things. So, I’m really hopeful that this will pass, and I’m actually quite convinced, and it’ll work out just fine.”
Podcast (full length):