In the seven years he’s lived in America, Nasir Zakaria has hardly felt as grateful as he did Tuesday waiting at the Warren Park polling site in Rogers Park to cast his first-ever vote in his lifetime, he said.
“Really I’m so grateful for country of United States,” Zakaria, a Rohingya American, said. “I’m so grateful for people of United States for supporting (us). I’m so grateful for government of United States.”
Hasan Korimullah was 8, maybe 9, when he saw his mother hacked to death. The pair had been on a shopping trip near their home in Myanmar when two men jumped out of the bushes with machetes, he said.
Hasan took off running, eventually escaping, while his mother became another casualty of the ongoing violence in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims like the boy’s family.
For the majority of his life, Nasir Bin Zakaria was a citizen of nowhere. He was 14 when he was kidnapped by militants at a bazaar in west Myanmar. “Kalah,” they hissed at him, a racial slur used toward Rohingya — the ethnic Muslim minority residing among the country’s Buddhist majority.