Sofia Jeylani Bobow

I feel about 25% foreign, but less than 75% Danish. In Bosnia I feel foreign too, but then on the other hand I do feel 100% Bosnian. My background gives me a special perspective, and the language plays a part in that too, because I don’t feel 100% myself in Danish.

I was born and raised in a communist country, where you cultivated community and brotherhood, but not religion. I didn’t find out I was a Muslim until I was 12 years old, when I was told not to wear black for a funeral. When we came to Denmark, we began to embrace the Muslim identity more and more, but we are moderate. I am aware that religion can lead to division, because it was religious issues which led to the war and our fleeing. We received a warm reception in Denmark, and I can’t say if we would have stuck more to the religion if we had been ostracised by the society the way that some refugees are today.

Your cultural identity depends on how you are received. One turns one’s religion and traditions up or down in order to fit in, or to have something to hold on to or to aim for. The Muhammed crisis became an identity crisis for me, because the debate was so polarising. I found it difficult to identify with either party and missed the voices from the centre.

37 years / female / in a relationship / children / office worker / Frederiksberg / from Bosnia-Herzegovina / came to Denmark in 1992 / residence permit 1997