Rohail Ahmed – Software Engineer who worked professionally in Pakistan for 2 years. Now he is doing Master studies in Software Engineering at Poznań University of Technology.
Why have you chosen University of Technology?
– I have chosen Poznan University of Technology, because one of my friend told me about software engineering studies which are good and are in english. Also I found out that Poland has different currency and living expenses are not high. Studies are also cheap compared to other good universities in Europe.
Have you ever experienced any problems related to your origin?
– Once a professor at my university asked me about my religion and he said: “I don’t know much about Islam and Pakistan, but I have heard that you are extremist and you don’t respect women”. Then I clarified everything with that professor and then he made a research and now he respects our religion and country. The second case was at a tram stop. Guys were drunk and aggressive, but also if polish people are not drunk then they have distorted image because of the religion.
What do you mean by „bad image because of religion”?
– My religion is Islam and they relate my religion with terrorism.
Why shouldn’t people relate these two things?
– Because bad people could be of any religion. Nobody knows the whole story, they know what media show. I think Pakistani people are very few in Poland and Polish people don’t know or they didn’t interact with us. That is why some people have negative views. But on the other hand i have met many many good Polish people who respect me a lot. I am quite impressed by Polish people.
What does the religion mean to you? Could you change it?
– Following religion is not a bad thing. Every religion teaches good things. I will not change my religion. But others should not judge me only because I am muslim. Everyone should respect others’ religion.
What good things did religion teach you?
– There are lot of things like good deeds, respect, how to treat with others, how to behave, what is good and what is bad for you.
Muslim woman are hidden by hijab, abaja and burqa. How do you feel in Europe, where female outfits are not restrictive?
– That is Europe’s culture and we respect that. We have our own culture and we respect that too.
I am asking about perception of men, who normally don’t see so many faces and bodies. Do you enjoy miniskirts?
– Obviously we look with pleasure in the beginning, but after a week or two weeks it’s normal. In general people of my religion like modesty and our religion also demands modesty. In Pakistan women wear jeans etc., but they don’t show body parts.
It is said that muslims behave differently during day and when the night comes. „When Allah doesn’t look”…
– In our belief Allah always looks at us. It’s just a perception of others.
Do you fancy something in Poland you don’t have in Pakistan and would you like tell us about?
– I am very much impressed by how teachers teach their students, course curriculum and the best part is behaviour of professors toward students, it is amazing.
I expected you will mention pierogi.
– I think you have not tasted Pakistani food.
Unfortunately, I have not. What can be better than pierogi?
– Biriyani, karahi, qorma.
Now it’s Christmas time in Poland. What is the most important celebration for muslims? How do you prepare for this?
– We have public holiday on the 25th of December for Christian community. But nothing special happens. Some Christian people cut cake and distribute to Muslims. Muslims have three most important religious events. Ramadan: Fasting for one month. Two Eid festivals in which everyone spend time with family and friends. People also do lot of charity work for poor and needy. Eat special Pakistani food etc. In second Eid almost every one who can, buys an animal. They slaughter cow or goat or camel and then they distribute meat to relatives, neighbors and to poor and needy people.
Rozmawiała Livia ROK