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Randa Radwan


I do feel foreign in Denmark, because I am neither completely Danish nor Arabic. I do not drink alcohol or have boyfriends, and I wear a headscarf. But then again, I am not your archetype Arab either. I talk with men and poke fun at them. I speak openly about everything and voice my opinion.

When I was 18, I married my cousin in Palestine. I had been in love with him since childhood. I would also like to see Palestine. But I did not feel at home there, because I was more Danish than I realized. I wanted to make up my own mind, but that was unacceptable to my husband and mother-in-law. So I fled. My husband called the border control and told them I was not allowed to leave. Then I showed them my Danish passport and told the guard in no uncertain terms that I was going to call the embassy. That was when I felt the strength I have inside.

I was pregnant, but in my culture many think it is a shame to have a child when you are divorced. But I wanted a child and my mother supported me. She has supported me every time life has been tough and I fell into a deep black hole. I owe her everything.

Ali, my husband, also supports me. He is half Lebanese and half Palestinian. We got married because he needed a marriage to stay in Denmark. We were engaged for three years and he was the most loving father. That is why I chose him. My children are neither Danes nor Arabs. The four youngest were born in Aarhus, which is probably why I am so attached to Aarhus. I fell 100% like an Aarhusian. People know me from all the voluntary work I have done. When out travelling I always miss Aarhus.

Randa Radwan / 39 / female / married / children / educated as social worker, interpreter and project worker / Aarhus / Palestinian from Dubai, / came to Denmark in 1990, residency permit same year

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