Audio Recording of Interview
Hayfaa details her difficulty transitioning from being a lawyer in Iraq to working a blue-collar factory job in the United States due to her limited English. She resettled in America due to the stronger rule of law and safer lifestyle, and wishes Americans knew Islam to be a peaceful religion, and saw her wearing of hijab to be a personal choice instead of a sign of oppression.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Hayfaa Airuuayyih
Location: Highpoint, NC
Summary: Hayfaa details her difficulty transitioning from being a lawyer in Iraq to working a blue-collar factory job in the United States due to her limited English. She resettled in America due to the stronger rule of law and safer lifestyle, and wishes Americans knew Islam to be a peaceful religion, and saw her wearing of hijab to be a personal choice instead of a sign of oppression.
Topics: islam, insurgance, danger, academia, work, organization, peace.
Section 1: (00:00 - 12:46)
English: The struggles of gaining a job with limited English ability. She also describes the need to study for the TOEFL exam. Additionally she discusses the issues of rejoining the law community (her past profession) in a new country.
Leaving Iraq: In Iraq she received her masters in Civil law. She left Iraq because of the militia creating a very dangerous environment. She left Iraq to go to Jordan. And she loved being in Jordan
Coming to America: She wanted to come to America because she believed it was safer and that the law was respected there.
The Law: Hayfaa placed a lot of importance in the law and its role in the world. She believes everything is under the law in the US rather than in her country.
Section 2: (12:46 -27:05)
Transition to the US: Hayfaa discusses working in a factory and her dislike of having a different job that was unrelated to the law. She describes her two jobs, one is an institute for the blind and the other is in a factory.
TOEFL: She describes the importance of the TOEFL and her need for studying for it by going to the library.
Islam: Hayfaa describes the change in experience of the peace with Islam and the perception of Islam more recently. Hayfaa likes Islam because it is about bringing peace and bringing peace to others. However when coming to the US Islam did not help her because there was no unifying organzation in North Carolina where she moved.
Section 3: (27:05 - 40:50)
Her home: Hayfaa talks about she loves her home and feels comfortable in her home despite having issues with some of the specifics. And it is a little far from her house. However she also hopes to get a better job near her home related to the law.
Baghdad: Baghdad is the city of peace because it is very quiet. It is a very historical city and she felt very connected to her work. SHe also sees the capability to find achieve justice in Baghdad.
Work: She discusses her work and how she likes not having a routine and would prefer to face a different problem each day. However in her new job she works in a factory and has to do the same thing everyday. She also describes enjoying both of her jobs despite how different they are from her past jobs. However she also describes that she believes it is unfair and doesn't make sense that she was placed in a job completely unrelated to her work. She has a masters and is very qualified and is struggling finding a job that is related to her qualifications.
Section 4: (40:50- 57:49)
Moving in the US: Hayfaa is contemplating relocating in the US to a different state in the US where there are more opportunities to become involved in the law. However, contemplating a relocation to Washington DC or New York would mean to leave all the family in North Carolina.
Community in NC: Hayfaa discusses the Iraqi community in NC however there is more of a focus on mostly receiving supplies.
Studying: Hayfaa’s main focus is receiving a good grade on the TOEFL exam in order to be able to apply to more jobs and to have more access to opportunities. She is hoping to get a phd in peace studies so as to be able to bring the message of peace to her country. Specifically she is looking at a program in UNC. She says there is a lot of war in her country and because of this she wants to be able to study more about it.
Masters: Her masters in Jordan is on civil law. Her focus is on dealing with thiefs, murder. She also focused on insurance law. Additionally she talks about the role of insurance and how there is a big difference between insurance in the US and in Jordan. In the US there is insurance on everything.
Section 5: (57-49 - 1:15:16)
Law in the US: The US is so great because all the laws are obeyed.
Wearing her hijab: She discusses how wearing her hijab is her personal choice relating to her own faith. ANd she believes that her brothers should not have the ability to give an opinion on whether or not she wears it. She also describes how muslim woman not wearing a hijab in the US represents freedom of choice. Additionally wearing it for her is the center place of her religion.
Faith: To Hayfaa guides everything she does, when she is a lawyer she uses her faith in order to do the right thing. However she has not been able to connect to the muslim community around her. But it was also not one of her main goals, she is hoping to find a good job and connect to new people in her life.
Section 6: (1:15:16 -
Perception of Islam: Hayfaa describes how the perception of Islam has changed and how many people don’t understand that it is about peace. She describes that many people believe that Islam is bad and abotu killing people. Additionally Hayfaa describes that the mosque in the US is very different than in Iraq and that the Mosques in Iraq are beautiful whereas in the US they are simply buildings.
Education: Hayfaa describes the issue of her education level not being recognized by NGO’s because of her English ability. And how that is very unfair and not smart because she is very qualified to be a lawyer.