Interview for

Mohammad Hashim Noori

9/2/2020

Interviewed By:

Katherine Clifton

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 1:14:21
Summary

Mr. Noori shares his experience immigrating to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2020 prior to the COVID pandemic disrupted life worldwide, and the difficulties it caused in their attempts to integrate into American society. He also shares his goals of finding education for his daughters and the role religion plays in his life – including his opposition to organized religion.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Mohammad Hashim Noori

Date: September 2, 2020

Location: Via Zoom


Summary: A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. K describes his family’s experience in Kenya before eventually resettling in New Haven, Connecticut. He recounts the threat to his family’s safety in Kenya, including kidnappings of family members, and the safety protocols they needed to follow prior to relocating to the U.S., as well as the new community they found in New Haven.

Topics: Complications with faith, Cultural Adjustment, Education, Family, Immigration Process, Pandemic, Religion, Revival of faith, Spirituality,


Outline

Section 1: (00:02 - 09:03)

  • Immigration Process - In March 2020, Mr. Noori was granted a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because of his work with the US Army in Afghanistan. He then flew from Kabul to Kentucky with his wife and three young  daughters.

  • Cultural adjustment - To his delight, unlike Japan where Mr. Noori had lived for two years while pursuing a master’s degree, America proved more diverse.

  • COVID-19 pandemic - The COVID-19 pandemic posed as an obstacle in many of the plans Mr. Noori had hoped to execute once in the United States such as enrolling his daughters in schools that he believed would better prepare them than the ones in Afghanistan.

  • Education - Mr. Noori’s most important goal upon arriving in the United States was to find good schools for his three young daughters.

  • Education - Mr. Noori’s wife holds diplomas in mid-wifing and engineering construction. She plans to pursue even higher education.

Section 2: (09:03 - 21:05)

  • Immigration Process - Mr. Noori and his family were resettled by the Kentucky Refugee ministry.

  • Immigration Process - After refugees are resettled in the US, they are offered financial assistance for six months. Mr. Noori was able to support his family through this establishment, but now has to find a job.

  • Cultural Adjustment - Mr. Noori notes that the lifestyle and social norms  in Afghanistan are very distinct from those of America.

  • COVID-19 pandemic - Since Mr. Noori and his family moved to the US shortly before the pandemic intensified, they have been isolated from their neighbors. He feels that he has not yet found a community.

  • Family - Mr. Noori shares that in Afghanistan, one’s family is especially central to one’s life. For example, while he lived in Afghanistan, Mr. Noori lived not only with his nuclear family but also his extended family in  a single house; furthermore, communities are organized around family, then tribe and then ethnic group.

Section 3: (21:05 - 35:58)

  • Religion - Mr. Noori emphasizes that religion plays a central role in the formation of communities in Afghanistan. For example, Sunni muslims tend to live separately from Shia muslims.

  • Spirituality - Mr. Noori doesn’t seem to believe in organization around religion. He believes that religion is more of a personal, spiritual tool that can be essential for perseverance for people who know it well.

  • Spirituality - The COVID-19 pandemic made acclimation into the US difficult for Mr. Noori and his family, but it was his faith in God (Allah) that kept him hopeful.

Section 4: (35:58 - 50:29)

  • Religion - For Mr. Noori, it is important for one to have a “cognition of religion,” which he summarizes as the attempt to understand different facets of religion and its impact on one’s life.

  • Religion - Mr. Noori believes that it is important for people to ponder why they follow the religions they follow. When asked why he follows Islam, Mr. Noori attributes it to growing up in an almost entirely Muslim nation.

  • Religion - Mr. Noori warns that having the incorrect cognition of a religion can lead to extremism and sometimes even death.

  • Complications with faith - While studying in Japan, Mr. Noori was often asked to speak on the actions of ISIS as he was the only Muslim in his class.

Section 5: (50:29 - 1:05:03)

  • Complications with faith - Mr. Noori notes a consequential difference between the cognition of religion in Middle Eastern countries and western countries like Japan: for the former, religion is the first priority and that often endangers economies and stability.

  • Education - As a child, Mr.Noori’s parents who are both illiterate, instilled in him the value of education. Elsewhere, Mr. Noori believes that his cognition of the world greatly broadened after his studies at a diverse school in Japan.

Section 5: (1:05:03 - )

  • Complications with faith - Mr. Noori shares that he once doubted his faith when he realized that for forty four years, Afghanis had been praying for the conflict to end and yet it just endured.

  • Revival of faith - When feeling doubtful about his faith, Mr. Noori recalls what he has achieved thus far in his life. It allows him to believe that he can overcome all the present difficulties with the help of God because it was also He who previously blessed him.