Audio Recording of Interview
Israa discusses the political instability and continuous conflict in Iraq, which led her to move to the United States in 2016 with her husband and daughters. She describes the importance of education in her and her children’s lives, how her relationship with Islam has changed over time, and her sense of safety in the U.S.
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Some notes about israa
Narrator: Israa A.
Location: Dallas, TX (Virtual)
Summary: Israa discusses the political instability and continuous conflict in Iraq, which led her to move to the United States in 2016 with her husband and daughters. She describes the importance of education in her and her children’s lives, how her relationship with Islam has changed over time, and her sense of safety in the U.S.
Topics: Lived Religion, Identity & Persecution, Discrimination
Section 1: (0:00 - 15:26) (Minute:Second)
Family - She lived with her family in a beautiful household in Iraq. Her husband was a businessman and her daughters were pursuing higher education.
Political Situation: Iraq was governed by a dictatorship which made it extremely difficult to move about freely and resume her normal life. The government was constantly involved in conflict whether it was a civil war or war with neighboring countries such as Iran and Kuwait.
Section 2: (15:52 - 27: 42)
Conditions Back Home - The majority of families were struggling so they began selling their furniture to survive. Israa considers herself a strong woman because of the difficulties she was able to overcome in her life.
Education: For Israa, education held the utmost importance in her and her children’s lives. She considers her family lucky because they didn’t face as much poverty or persecution as their family friends in other cities.
Identity & Persecution: Within her city there existed a strong Sunni and Shia divide. Even one’s name could be enough to get them killed. Extremely grateful that her children were able to go to well-known universities without being persecuted for their names (ex: Ali).
Section 3: (29:47 - 35:27 )
Lived Religion - Consistently expresses gratitude to God for the blessing in her life. She wasn’t able to practice Islam publicly in certain areas. She preferred to practice within the comfort of her own home.
Marriage - Prior to her marriage, Israa would constantly be out in the public either visiting mosques or hanging out with her friends. After her marriage she began to practice a secluded form of religion.
Section 4: (40:14 - 53:22)
Discrimination - There is a distinct cultural differences between Shia Iran and Shia Iraq. She would deliberately be denied/delayed entrance into a prayer area because she’s Iraqi and not Iranian. This discrimination wasn’t restricted to gender.
Lived Religion - Her children preferred to practice Islam in private because of the judgement they recieved from the Iraninian community. Israa stated that her relationship with God strengthened after her marriage.
Section 5: (55:01 - 1:09:19)
Lived Religion - Israa believes that religion is an extremely personal thing and that the worship of God can differ from person to person. She consistently retained her daily 5 prayers even after the war.
Immigration Status/Process - She began in the immigration process in 2009 and came to America in 2016.
Section 6: (1:10:08 - 1:16:56)
Cultural Adjustment - America gave her the sense of safety. She felt a shared faith in humanity and respect within her community in America. Till now, she has faced no discrimination within America.
Lived Religion - She still prefers to practice her religion within her own home.
Section 7: (1:17:57 -
Lived Religion: Israa believes that her worship of God isn’t constrained to the mosque but is something that can be done anywhere.
Pandemic: Both her husband and daughter are sick and she’s extremely worried about them. Because of the pandemic she was laid off from work as TJ Maxx for about 3 months and has resumed working with fewer hours.