Audio Recording of Interview
Ayub talks about his journey from Burma to America and the struggles he faced while living under the oppressive Burmese military government. He also discusses the process of getting settled into life in the United States, and the advocacy work he does now to aid other refugees and other members of his Rohingya community here in America.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Ayub Mohammad
Date: July 2, 2019
Location: Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia in Clarkston, Georgia
Summary: Ayub talks about his journey from Burma to America and the struggles he faced while living under the oppressive Burmese military government. He also discusses the process of getting settled into life in the United States, and the advocacy work he does now to aid other refugees and other members of his Rohingya community here in America.
Topics: conditions back home, employment/service, immigration process, violence
Section 1: (00:00-07:53)
Government: When Ayub was still in school he was questioned by the military government in Burma and he refused something they asked so he was beat and tortured by them.
Leaving Burma: Ayub decided to leave Burma because he wanted to continue his education but he knew he would not be able to do so there. So he escaped Burma on a boat to go to Malaysia with 90 other people. However, something happened to their boat, so he and the other 90 people were stranded at sea for 27 days before they were rescued by the Sri Lankan navy.
Detention Center: The Sri Lankan government placed Ayub and the rest of the individuals from the boat who survived in a detention center and was planning on sending them all back to Burma, but they knew that if they went back, they would be killed.
Coming to America: Ayub and the others were at the detention center for nine months and got interviewed by the United Nations before they were finally approved to come to the US.
Section 2: (07:53-15:17)
Religion: Ayub is a Rohingya Muslim and becayse of that he was discriniated against by the Burmanese govertnment and had nuemorus restrictions placed on him of what he could and could not do.
Social Media: Through social media and more accessible internet services, Ayub and more individuals were able to see the religious intolernace the Muslim were facing and see the atrocities occurring in other parts of the world.
Family: Many of Ayub’s family memvers were trying to escape from Burma to Bangladesh because of the government in Burma but many were killed or raped when they tried to escape, inclduing many individuals from Ayub’s family.
Government: The religious intolerance the government in Burma had lead to much violence and discrimination against the Muslim population living there.
Section 3: (15:17-23:20)
Faith: Even after all the discrinimation Ayub faced because of his religion, he never wavered in his faith. Even now, he says that his religion is what gave him strength to overcome all his challenges when living in Burma.
Citizenship: Ayub was never truly a citizen in Burma where he was born and for the first time is a citizen and has found a place where he is accepted in America.
Advocacy: Even though Ayub now feels safe in America, he knows there are various atrocities occurring throughout the world that aren’t getting the attention they deserve. He is an advocate for spreading the word on the atrocity soccuriing in the world and even went to DC to talk about it with a senator.
Family: His family is in Bangladesh and want to leave. They are living in terrible conditions and Ayub was able to see first-hand when he went to visit them in Bangladesh.
Section 4: (23:20-29:52)
Family: All of Ayub’s siblings still live in Bangladesh including his parents. He has no family in the US but has filed for them to come and live in the US although they don't want to leave Bangladesh.
Camps: The refugees from Burma live in camps in Bangladesh including Ayub’s family but they are all simply happy to be away from the Burmese government.
Religion: Ayub’s faith has grown on;y stronger from being in America and believes that home for him is God.
Section 5: (29:52-37:14)
Visiting Family: Ayub is happy to live in the US and doesn’t want to leave. Even though he doesn’t have much family in the US he would only ever go back to Bangladesh once a year to visit family.
Resettlement Agency: Upon coming to the US, a refugee resettlement agency helped him acclimate to life here by getting him a job and helping him get settled.
Work: Since he has been here, Ayub has been working in marketing and sales. He is the only one in his family who works so he needs to work to be able to support his family.
Education Center: Ayub and a few others started an education center like a school where they help new refugees get settled and teach Arabic and English classes to help people learn more about their culture and acclimate to life in the US.
Section 6: (37:14-43:06)
Cultural Differences: Ayub learned a lot of cultural differences from his time in America such as what is considered rude and what is not and therefore made a point to include that topic in the education center he opened up.
Work: Ayub is able to balance working a full time job while also being in charge of the education center by working Monday through Friday and having events/programs at the center on the weekends only.
Rohingya Culture: There is a lot about the culture that Ayub is still able to celebrate in America such as major celebrations, the food, the clothing, and the music.
Section 7: (43:06-48:35)
Advocacy: Ayub wants people to educate themselves on what is going on in the world and understand that Muslims are not bad people, they are simply being discriminated against because of their religion.
School: In Burma, Ayub was forced to stop school after eighth grade and was never given the opportunity to continue his education.