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Finding “home”

Elham Abdalla, junior, is orginally from North Sudan. She, along with her father and brothers came to America to escape the Sudanese civil war.

October 12, 2016

Junior Elham Abdalla is one out of 1.25 billion people who follow the religion of Islam. It is a monotheistic religion of Abrahamic faith based off the Qur’an. She and her two brothers, Barareldin, 17 and Negmedlin, 12 came to America from Genana, North Sudan with their father in 2014 to escape the tragedies of the Sudanese Civil War that has been raging since 1955.

In 2002 her mother died of sickness, causing Abdalla to step into a more natural role for her brothers. She has always taken care of them by cooking, cleaning and being a positive role model in their lives, but since moving to the United States it has increased as they don’t have their mother or grandmother behind them.

Her freshman year at Central was more difficult to adapt, “The first time I came to Central I was very scared, afraid of making friends [who weren’t like me],” said Abdalla. English as a second language (ESL) classes have helped her to adjust to life in America and meet people who struggle with writing and speaking English as well.

The most challenging classes she is enrolled in are biology and English. On the other hand, math and psychology come easily to her.

She did not speak English since her first and second languages were Massalit, a native language to Sudan and Arabic. Since then she said, “Central is the best school in Omaha, the second thing I like is the teachers. They are wonderful.” Learning English has at times been extremely difficult to her, but she has more opportunities here in America to better her and her family’s life.

Abdalla focuses on school, learning and improving her English now in the eleventh grade.

Like her father, she is just as religious and spiritual in her faith. She freely talks about her religion, not only because as a Muslim she is required to answer the questions people wonder about the religion of Islam, but because it is a big part of her life.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion and the right to practice whatever religion one chooses. “The difference [between Sudan and Omaha] is freedom. In the United States we have freedom, it’s a safe place… we have safety here,” Abdalla said. There is not much religious freedom for people in Sudan due to the civil war that between Arabs and Christians. Each religion fought for power and control over all of Sudan and its resources, resulting in the largest country in Africa drawing a line through it to separate the Muslims [Northern Sudan] and Christians [Southern Sudan].

They used violence and physical force that endangered the innocent people of Sudan. Over a million people have been killed in this ongoing conflict. The little freedom Sudanese people have culturally and religiously is the biggest push factors emigrants face when leaving to seek new homes and safety.

All Abdalla and her family want is a livable, safe environment where they can practice their religion freely and not be scared of people inflicting violence on them for being Muslim. Terrorism has no religion, race, or gender. “He’s Muslim and I’m Muslim too, but I’m innocent,” says Abdalla.

Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation for political purposes. There is no practice of terrorism in Islam according to the Qur’an, “…Not everyone is the same. It makes me sad about what the people blame all Muslim people for being terrorists,” it is one thing to tolerate Muslims and understand what they practice and how dedicated and loyal they are to Allah [God]. “They don’t know anything about what’s going on,” Abdalla said.

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