Agha Muhammad Nadeem

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I don’t feel foreign here. Denmark is my home just as much as Pakistan, where I was born and raised. I have lived here for the past 29 years. I have owned a kiosk and a butcher shop here, and the only problem is that I have never learned the language.

I would like to return to Pakistan, but I wouldn’t take my children with me. There is no way they would accept the way we live there. When they were still small and we were in Pakistan, we employed a poverty-stricken girl just off the street. She played with my children and had her meals with us. But in Pakistan people are very segregated according to their socio-economic status, so my Pakistani family were outraged. I told them to leave my house if they couldn’t accept this poor girl. I don’t want my children’s perception of people to change from the Danish, where everyone is accepted as being equal. Many people don’t understand that I want to return despite the fact that the average life expectancy in Pakistan is only 61 and the Danish hospitals are free, and as we are growing older, we know that we will end up there sooner or later. It is important to me that my wife and I will be buried in Pakistan.

In Denmark the cemeteries are empty, whereas in Pakistan people go there every day to pray for their deceased family members. It is comforting to think that people close to me will be praying for me. Perhaps they have even been better people than me, so I hope that Allah will listen to their prayers and forgive me for my sins.

61 years / male / in a relationship / children / Copenhagen N / owns a butcher shop / from Pakistan / came to Denmark in 1987 / residence permit same year