“Muhammad1” is a thoughtful and dedicated youth worker for the local council of a small coastal town in the United Kingdom, where he has been an especially important role model for young refugees from the Horn of Africa, including Sudan and Somalia. Muhammad, a member of Sudan’s dominant Muslim Arab professional class, claimed asylum in the United Kingdom in 1993 along with many other Sudanese.2 After establishing himself professionally, Muhammad applied to the UK Home Office for his wife and four children back in Sudan to join him in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s. Over the next few years, Muhammad experienced a rise in family tension and a deterioration in his marital relationship. “W’Allahi (by God), she was always nagging me,” Muhammad said of his wife—talking back to him, instructing him on his responsibilities, and taking decisions without his approval. In particular, Muhammad mentioned his anger at his wife’s unilateral act of sending money to her own uncle in Sudan without Muhammad’s permission. “This is too much,” he complained. “It is not her right to do this!” Adding to Muhammad’s woes, his tween and teen children were not behaving “properly.” The three girls preferred to wear clothes that were popular with British youth but that did not necessarily meet the ideal of modest dress promoted by many first-generation Muslim Sudanese. The boy braided his hair in the style of his Afro-Caribbean classmates.
Managing Muslim Mobilities: Between Spiritual Geographies and the Global Security Regime
Fabos, Anita H., "Between Ghurba and Umma: Mapping Sudanese Muslim Moralities Across National and Islamic Space" (2014). Faculty Works. 3.
© 2014 Anita H. Fábos and Riina Isotalo