Real Lives: Migrant Memoirs
Issue 100 January 2013
The stories of how the elders in our community came to the West, and the challenges they faced in building a new life.
Muslims in the West don’t have the best reputation. We are often stereotyped as people who take advantage of the benefits system, as well as stealing jobs from the indigenous population. We are also criticised for being insular and not interacting or integrating with people outside our community. Whilst there may some truth in these assertions, the reality is that Muslims have been coming to the West for the past 50 years and making positive contributions to wider society, and our Migrant Memoirs section was introduced to highlight these stories.
Dr Farouk El-Baz grew up in Egypt and was inspired to become a geologist after joining the boy scouts. In 1960, he arrived in America to undertake further study and began working with NASA, where he studied the geological properties of the Moon. He was tasked with choosing the landing sites for the lunar missions, and he oversaw the training of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Following the 1948 Nakba, Dr Ghada Karmi was forced to leave Palestine with her family and they settled in London. She became an activist for the Palestinian cause after being faced with a prevalence of Zionist attitudes in England, and after many years as a medical doctor, she began lecturing about the Israel-Palestine conflict at the University of Exeter.