Hazara refugees find community and hope at campus event

More than 300 Hazara refugees came to BYU on February 12 for the School of Communications’ first event coordinated with the Hazara Association of Utah. (Hailey Acts)

More than 300 Hazara refugees came to BYU on February 12 for the School of Communications’ first event coordinated with the Hazara Association of Utah.

The event included a presentation on Utah history and Latter-day Saint faith. Publicity Manager Kendelle Cragun helped organize the presentations.

She said that when creating the event, they felt there were many similarities between the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the persecution the Hazara people are facing. currently facing.

“Culture and religion shaped our lives, our community, and it was going to be something they were going to learn as they spent more time in Utah. We wanted them to have a preface and to understand how we can relate to them,” Cragun said.

Mohammad Hassan Omid recently arrived in Utah on January 19. He said he didn’t know much about the Church until the sister missionaries visited him and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.

“The presentation was great. All people got good information about Mormons and communities in Utah,” Omid said.

After the presentation, students from the School of Communications took Hazara refugees on a tour of the campus, which included the Bean Museum of Life Sciences, the Wilkinson Student Center, the Harold B. Lee Library, and the Fine Arts Center Harris.

“Coming from a country where women aren’t allowed to study and then having the opportunity to go to the library of a major university is a huge motivation for these guys and one that they will carry throughout. of their lives,” said Ghazanfar Ali, founder of the Hazara Association of Utah.

Masoma Mohammadi, 16, has been in the Midvale area for over two years. Mohammadi said that since she was in 7th grade, she hoped to go to a university in the future to become a pilot.

Mohammadi said she felt like she could go to school in the United States, but was sad for her friends in Afghanistan, where many women are learning to stay at home, cook and s take care of children.

“It’s so hard for them. When you talk to them on the phone, they cry. They say they want to go to school, but we can’t,” Mohammadi said.

Mohammadi’s move to the United States was difficult as she left friends and family behind. Her father works for the US military and was no longer safe in Afghanistan. However, Mohammadi enjoyed his time in Utah and the students at his school.

“They’re good people, they don’t care if I’m wearing a (scarf). Because some people don’t like it. They don’t want to talk to you. They don’t want to be friends,” Mohammadi said. “But here, everyone is good. They are friends; all. They don’t care about your religion or your culture. They just want to be friends.

Students and staff from the School of Communications served Hazara refugees brownies and ice cream from BYU Creamery after the campus tour.

“The main part of the United States and Utah that is beautiful for us is the kindness of the people. They supported us, helped, supported me and my family,” Omid said.

Omid said he hopes to attend many more future events hosted by the Utah Hazara Association and the School of Communications.

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