Two years ago, we brought you the story of Mukit Hossain, a Bangladeshi Muslim immigrant living in Northern Virginia. Hossain was a successful business executive who was active in local politics and started a charity.
Hossain’s philanthropic works took an unexpected turn: He had seen some Hispanic immigrant day laborers waiting for work outside in the winter cold in the parking lot of a 7-11. Hossain raised money within the Muslim community to deliver coats, shelter, and meals for the workers.
Margolis went to go meet Hossain on his farm in Spotslyvania County, Virginia several weeks ago and was preparing a story. Then, Hossain died suddenly of a heart attack on November 27th. He was 54.
“After spending any amount of time with my little neighbors, I find myself with one of two responses: I will sit and cry wondering how many more significant days their mom will miss due to a broken set of laws, or I get on a soap box and begin preaching to the choir (my husband) about how injustice is alive and well … and then I sit and cry. I feel so helpless; so hopeless. All I can do is love them like crazy while they are in our home, tell their story, and fight for reform.”—
Hi, I am Kauthar Hassan and I moved from Kenya, by way of Somalia, to the United States in 2000. It was exciting to travel from there to here as we didn’t travel much before and suddenly we were on a very big trip. We came to the United States because my parents wanted better things for all of our family, so they brought us to this country.
When we arrived in Georgia, the change could not have been more different. Yes, there were big cities in Kenya, but there was nothing to compare with the atmosphere of the Atlanta area where I now live. In Kenya, we had a large variety of animals and wildlife. The plains of Kenya were, seemingly, very close to the city. The joy and wonder that went with them, whether it was going on a safari or watching a beautiful sunset, seemed to be easy to find and enjoy. Here the city seems to go on and on. Even when we travel away from the city the wide-open spaces like I knew in Kenya seem to be hard to find.
One of the things I miss most about Kenya is the early morning when I would wake up and smell the aroma of pancakes and mandozi (a Kenyan pastry). I also loved the sunsets in Kenya as the sun slid over the horizon.
Although I miss those parts of my life, I do like it here. Everyone is friendly. When I first arrived everyone would ask me about where I had come from and they wanted to know all about me. Their friendliness made me feel good. There are lots of things to do here that I couldn’t do at home. There are different foods and different cultures all waiting to be explored. I have found something I like as much as the plains of Kenya and that is vacationing along the coast of Florida and enjoying the shore there.
There are some funny things that happened to me when I arrived here, things that American children take for granted. A couple of great examples are in the changes I found in kitchen. I did not know what a microwave oven was. Can you imagine? I had never seen a dishwasher as we had always washed our dishes by hand. Here there was this machine to do such as task. I liked that!
While I do miss my home, I know that was the right place for our family to come to. We have opportunities here that we would not have had in Kenya or Somalia.
“My maternal grandparents were born in eastern Europe, and came to America with no money, few skills and zero knowledge of the English language. Under today’s immigration laws they’d never get in, and I’m far from the only American to say that of my ancestors. Face it: with the exception of the African slaves (who obviously didn’t choose to come here) and a few aristocratic English second sons denied an inheritance by primogeniture laws, the people who built America were mostly – well, losers. Outcasts. Misfits. People so miserable in the Old Country they risked everything to journey to America and grab a chance at a new life. The rich, happy people didn’t bother emigrating; it requires a certain desperation to take such foolhardy risks as crossing the Atlantic in steerage class or crossing the Arizona desert on foot, just for the chance to start over at rock bottom.”
I am the lover’s eyes, and the spirit’s Wine, and the heart’s nourishment. I am a rose. My heart opens at dawn and The virgin kisses me and places me Upon her breast.
I am the house of true fortune, and the Origin of pleasure, and the beginning Of peace and tranquility. I am the gentle Smile upon his lips of beauty. When youth Overtakes me he forgets his toil, and his Whole life becomes reality of sweet dreams.
I am the poet’s elation, And the artist’s revelation, And the musician’s inspiration.
I am a sacred shrine in the heart of a Child, adored by a merciful mother.
I appear to a heart’s cry; I shun a demand; My fullness pursues the heart’s desire; It shuns the empty claim of the voice.
I appeared to Adam through Eve And exile was his lot; Yet I revealed myself to Solomon, and He drew wisdom from my presence.
I smiled at Helena and she destroyed Tarwada; Yet I crowned Cleopatra and peace dominated The Valley of the Nile.
I am like the ages — building today And destroying tomorrow; I am like a god, who creates and ruins; I am sweeter than a violet’s sigh; I am more violent than a raging tempest.
Gifts alone do not entice me; Parting does not discourage me; Poverty does not chase me; Jealousy does not prove my awareness; Madness does not evidence my presence.
Oh seekers, I am Truth, beseeching Truth; And your Truth in seeking and receiving And protecting me shall determine my Behavior.
Khalil Gibran makes me proud to be Lebanese American is like my favourite Poet/Philosopher!!
Genos Steakhouse - famous for its philly steak sandwiches - has anti-immigrant signs all over its windows. take a look at this link, which identifies a huge number of celebrities that took pics there: Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Cage, Regis Philbin, Sylvester Stallone, Ray Ramono, Tony Danza, Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, Bobby Flay, Patti Labelle, Joan Rivers, Mariah Carey….