This Is Us: Episode 2 – Latifa and Mahmood

This Is Us: Episode 2 – Latifa and Mahmood


(serene music) [Latifa] I love hearing
stories about my family. They’re early stories of resilience, racism, and building a community. My Nana [Grandfather]
always recounts stories of his grandfather’s arrival. – [Mahmood] This is my grandfather, here. [Mahmood] My grandfather
Ismail Bikhoo was only 27 years old when he left
Gujarat, India in 1908. It was a long and anxious
journey that took him months. The last stop was Auckland. He was tired of being on the boat, so he went to the immigration officer and asked if he could stay in New Zealand. As long as you can read and write in English you can stay. My grandfather signed his name and that’s how he came to stay. But, living here wasn’t that easy. There were signs outside the barbershop and lease agreements, “No
Indians or Chinese allowed.” A handful of Muslim
families lived in Auckland and were committed of
keeping their culture alive. We had our first Eid prayers in the 1950s and built the first mosque
in Ponsonby in the 1970s. (bird’s wings flapping) [Latifa] Barbershops in Aotearoa may not deny service to Indians anymore, but in the post 9/11 landscape we have seen those signs again. (chanting prayer) [Latifa] People are shocked when I tell them how long we’ve been here. Sometimes I struggle with saying that. It shouldn’t matter how
long we’ve been here but when people tell you to go home, it makes no sense to me. How many times can I tell them? I am home, this is my home and this is my grandfather’s home and
his grandfather’s too. I’m making a book about my family. I want it to encourage
the next generations of Muslims to remain strong in the face of Islamophobia. I wanna show how far we
have come as a community and that we are all part of the wider New Zealand community. This is us.

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