“It is hard to stay proud of your religion, when it is so tainted by IS.”
“I am Kurdish. I fled from Al-Hasaka, a city in north-eastern Syria. There is a fierce conflict there between the Kurds and IS, which continuously stages attacks with car bombs. At the same time, we are being attacked by the Turkish army. There have already been so many casualties.
Three days ago my nephew was killed. He was a Kurdish fighter in the struggle against IS, like so many are in Al-Hasakah. Actually, there are only two options: fight or flee. My mother wanted me to leave. She still lives in our family home, alone. She wants to stay there so that my brothers and sisters and I will always have a place to return to. I have ten brothers and five sisters. Some of them also fled to Europe, but I am the only one in the Netherlands. I hope that I can finish my studies here. I was almost finished. Just one more month, and I would have had a chemistry degree.
I am Muslim, but I don’t like to talk about it. It is hard to stay proud of your religion, when it is so tainted by IS. Sometimes I stroll through town here with a friend, and sometimes we swear a bit. If Allah is mentioned I notice that I quickly check to see if nobody heard it. I don’t want people to think I am a terrorist.”
Hoger Hamo (24) from Al-Hasakah, Syria