Omar Sedique is an Afghan American. In his story, he shares how music fosters a sense of pride in his identity and rich heritage. He explains how his American and Afghan cultures blend together to provide him with a platform for creativity, as well as acceptance.

This story was recorded in partnership with MALA and StoryCorps. The story was produced by Sydney Jarol from StoryCorps Chicago.

“I am a descendent of Afghan immigrants who immigrated to this country because of the political upheaval in Afghanistan, and the uncertainty that followed. I was actually born here, I was born in Ohio, and for me I consider it a great privilege, and honor to be part of two vastly different societies. Something which has affected my life in a tremendous way, but at the same time there are sometimes when those societies clash with one another and I have to find a way to keep everything in balance.

I’ve done a lot of work keeping my Afghan roots in my heart because a lot of youth now of days not only in America, but in Europe, and across the world they’ve really forgotten the Afghan side of who they are, and I don’t want that to happen to me. I’ve seen it amongst my peers in school that a lot of Muslim students they fear being bullied, and discriminated against so they hide their identities, and this is something which is affected not just my friends but a lot of Muslims. They have to hide their identity because they don’t know who’s going to judge them for who they are. I mean I’m a Muslim, and I’m born and raised in this country, and I’m proud of it and why am I to hide myself, and who I am why should I take the blame for things that a group of extremist I’ve been doing halfway across the world when I’m sitting here in this beautiful country.

I believe in this country, I believe that the majority of the people in this country are accepting and tolerant. So what I do is I try to showcase my culture as much as I can the music the history the language, to really show the people that Afghanistan is not all that it seems to be in the media. I want them to see the good side…side of people or hospitable, who are kind, who are accepting, and to me this is the perfect place to do it. Cause in America we’re a melting pot and you were given the opportunity to be whoever you want to be so I believe that when I have the opportunity here I should take advantage of it and showcase my culture to the people.”

 

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