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Hisham Wael Zaki


I sometimes feel that I'm 50 percent Danish and 50 percent Iraqi. I'm still Iraqi, but I'm also in the process of becoming integrated, so I'm beginning to feel Danish.

When I first arrived here, I felt more welcome. It lasted until around 2015-2016. People have become more critical of refugees. I see it on TV and in the newspapers, and I also experience it personally. That's sad. But by involving myself and working hard, I try to show people that many of them misunderstand refugees. That we can also be a benefit to the society.

The media convey the wrong images, and I have even had the wrong pictures myself. When I had just arrived, I saw some pictures of the naked run at Roskilde Festival, and it made me believe that everything in Denmark was about sex. But it was perhaps just 50 people who did the naked run. When I had just arrived, people also constantly asked me if I drank alcohol. So in the beginning, I thought that the Danes drink a lot more than most of them actually do.

If my family and friends are not happy, I can't be happy either. I work as a volunteer and help others. Everything goes much better when I think of others before I think of myself. My favourite pastime is playing with my daughter, but I also go to folk dance with my wife. It is fun. I like the rhythm, the music and the movement in folk dance. I also find that I learn more about Danish traditions when I do folk dance. I don't have a folk costume, but I'm looking forward to getting one.

33 / male / married / one child / will probably start teacher training, volunteer Samaritan and bar manager at a music venue / Rønne / from Iraq / came to Denmark in 2013 / residence permit in 2015

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