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Jakarta Post

Away from home, child refugees muse over what Ramadan means

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Mon, May 20, 2019   /  11:56 am
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Some child refugees paint while waiting for iftar during a Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar event held over the weekend in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.(JP/Dames Alexander Sinaga)

Having been an asylum seeker for three years, 15-year-old Umar Nasir from Ethiopia is getting used to observing Ramadan in Indonesia.  Nasir, his parents and elder sister fled their war-torn hometown of Jimma in 2017.  The way Indonesian Muslims observe Ramadan has struck him particularly.   “[Ramadan] here is a bit quiet. In my country, people's mobility remains high during Ramadan even though they are fasting,” he said on Saturday during a gathering in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.  Nasir recalled he had little to do during his first Ramadan in Indonesia as he had few friends back then. Besides, he only spoke broken Indonesian.   "I would only go to the mosque and go back home right after.”   One year later, his loneliness was gone as his Indonesian was good enough to let him make more friends.   Nasir ...