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Nawras Al-Hashimi


I feel foreign because I don’t have a strong attachment to any particular place, but at the same time I can feel at home because I have decided to acknowledge my own foreignness. Being on a journey or quest in life is somehow like opting to be foreign.

Many of the communities we become part of impose standard ideals of how we should be and act. I oppose those kinds of communities, and I consciously look for communities which give one space to be oneself. My parents expected me to embrace the Arabic culture when I was young, but I said that I couldn’t act upon a culture I knew nothing about. It was a sort of teenage rebellion, but I have stuck by this ever since. I have abandoned my cultural identity as an Arab and as male in order to get closer to the essential and the existential within myself. Identities are social constructions. They are chains tying you in certain ways of being and they must be abolished.

I live in a spiritual commune, where, through meditation and therapy practice, we heal and support one another to help us find and accept ourselves as we are, freed from culturally based identities such as gender and ethnicity. To be a spiritual seeker is like breaking out of the chains that you get burdened with by the society. One can say that it is about returning to something which characterises childhood. Children are born innocent, but lose their innocence when they grow up. Part of my quest is to find this state of innocence again.

37 years / male / single / pedagogue / Brædstrup/Copenhagen S / from Iraq / came to Denmark in 1993 / residence permit same year

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