Friday, 24 August 2007

Scottish Refugee Week 2006

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Amanullah De Sondy
It’s Scottish Refugee Week, a time to show a positive image of refugees and how valuable they are to Scottish culture. The programme aims to promote better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration. Now moving from one house to another might seem stressful enough but to move from one country to another, to escape oppression, is a scenario not many of us can truly appreciate. A few questions spring to my mind. What is this week really trying to tell us? Is it a wake up call for the refugees or the indigenous population? And after the fanfare and street parades what next?

For me, refugees are blessings in disguise for they bring an alternative lifestyle, forcing us all to open up our mind and body to something different. We are all guilty of feeling cosy in our comfort zones. When I was at school, I remember seeing a clear divide between those who were white and those who weren't. I was always stuck between the two. I found it difficult to choose my comfort zone, for each had its own uniqueness and each allowed me to define myself.

As I grew older the divide was soon lost in my life. But now I feel at ease with my identity, so I can easily open up to others but no matter how many slogans or mottos I see about integration, the divide is still evident in wider society. I’m all in favour of highlighting important issues but isn’t it time we put these campaigns into action? God says in the Qur’an “We created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other.” We’re certainly different nations and tribes but do we actually know each other?

We hear so often the statement of loving your neighbour, so let’s start by taking a few steps and knocking on their door.

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