Interview for

Salamatu Jalloh

7/19/2019

Interviewed By:

Katherine Clifton

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 43:44
Summary

Salamatu Jalloh resettled in New York City from Guinea the previous year with her young son who suffers from sickle cell disease. Salamatu discussed changes in her religious practice living as a Black Muslim woman in New York, her feelings about the identifying aspects of both being Black and being Muslim, and her experience of immigrating to find a new home and community in the Bronx.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Salamatu Jalloh

Date: July 19, 2019

Location: Brooklyn, NY


Content Warning: Mention of FGM (00:25-04:11), discussion of Islamophobia and racism throughout

Summary:Salamatu Jalloh resettled in New York City from Guinea the previous year with her young son who suffers from sickle cell disease. Salamatu discussed changes in her religious practice living as a Black Muslim woman in New York, her feelings about the identifying aspects of both being Black and being Muslim, and her experience of immigrating to find a new home and community in the Bronx.

Topics: Immigration Process, Religion, Cultural Adjustment, Religion, Race, Family


Outline

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

  • Immigration Process: Salamatu discussed her reasons for resettling in the US from Guinea, primarily her experience with FGM and her son’s illness.

  • Religion, Cultural Adjustment: Her experience with both culture and religion significantly changed when she came to the US. She described feeling lost as to her religious practice and community upon resettling in the US.

  • Religion: Salamatu described differences between her religious practice in the US and Guinea, primarily her practice of covering hair and praying. She spoke about not wanting to pray in public, for seeming “weird” or for fear of violence.

Section 2: (09:02-20:25)

  • Race, Religion: Salamatu spoke about the difficulties of being a Black, Muslim woman in the US. While her race was always obvious, she discussed how religion was something that did not necessarily have to be shared.

  • Immigration Process: She described being helped by multiple nonprofits upon receiving asylum.

  • Religion: Salamatu discussed how her relationship to Islam has changed since resettlement, and how although her appearance may be different, her internal commitment to her faith has increased.

  • Family, Religion: Salamatu spoke of her son, aged 21 months, and how her faith has helped her to remain strong to support the two of them.

Section 3: (20:25-33:39)

  • Religion: Salamatu described her sense of religious community, mostly based in a mosque in the Bronx.

  • Immigration Process, Religion: She discussed the decision to move to the US, which was very difficult, in order to help her son. The decision was largely rooted in her faith.

  • Family, Religion: Salamatu talked about teaching her son about Islam, and the open-minded approach that she aspires to take in, unlike her own childhood.

Section 4: (33:39-43:42)

  • Religion, Cultural Adjustment: Discussing things that surprised her in the US, Salamatu mentioned how the practice of religion is stigmatized and much more private.

  • Religion: Salamatu talked about her own approach– that she respects all religions, and that while she does not consider her Muslim identity a secret, she is very aware of privacy and practicing only in private.

  • Family: Salamatu described “home” as a “safe place,” with family, love, and food. She does not think of New York as a home, although she is trying to make it one.