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Mohammad's Story: A Perilous Journey from Syria to Europe

Meet Mohammed… Mohammed is from Syria. Since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011, the violence, conflict and destruction has ravaged the population.

Mohammed was called up for the army. He hid, as he knew he needed to provide for his family. He went to Erbil in Kurdistan and worked tirelessly to send money home. Eventually, the conflict reached Erbil and Mohammed had to make his way to Turkey. Mohammed paid thousands of Euros to smugglers and began the long journey to Norway, first getting a boat to Greece.

Sadly, he was caught and fingerprinted in Hungary. According to the Dublin Agreement, the country in which you are first fingerprinted is the country where you must seek asylum. Mohammed eventually reached Norway, where he anxiously awaits to find out whether he will be returned to Hungary.

The 'Perilous Journey' trilogy includes Hasko's, Khalid's and Mohammad's stories. The comics were serialised in The Guardian and Aftenposten (11-13 Nov 2015). They were exhibited at the Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo (12 Nov 2015). They were also featured in 'A perilous journey: Stories of Migration' at Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London (April-June 2017). The project was generously funded by Norwegian People's Aid.

Discussion Points

  1. What are your initial thoughts and feelings after reading Mohammed’s story?

  2. Can you explain why Mohammed had to leave Syria? Do you think he is a migrant (someone who moves find work or better living conditions) or a refugee (someone fleeing conflict, persecution, or natural disasters)? Why?

  3. What would you do and how would you feel if you found yourself in Mohammed’s position?

  4. Does Mohammed’s story differ from stories you have read in the media?

  5. How was Mohammed treated when he arrived in Europe? Did the reactions differ between Norway and Hungary?

  6. The Dublin Treaty is an agreement stating that a refugee can only seek asylum in the European country they were first finger printed. How does the Dublin Treaty affect Mohammed?

  7. How are you different, and similar to Mohammed?

  8. How do you think Mohammed is feeling now?

  9. How can we help to integrate people like Mohammed into our communities?

  10. Has Mohammed’s story effected the way you think about refugees and asylum seekers (someone seeking asylum in another country as a political refugee)? How?

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