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Imam with his heart in two countries

Imam Shaaban Abou Zur lived half his life in Egypten before he came to Sweden. He regards himself as a global citizen, with a mission to do good deeds for others.
DA Imamen Shaaban Abou Zur - Familjesidorna
DA Imamen Shaaban Abou Zur - Familjesidorna
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Shaaban Abou Zur has always tried to find security. He found it 29 years ago in north-east Skåne, in Kristianstad. In Kristianstad he found the same atmosphere as in the town where he grew up in the north of Egypt.

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It’s in my blood to try to find freedom, security and peace

He grew up in a family of fishermen, who lived at one with the sea, the lake and the sky.

– It’s in my blood to try to find freedom, security and peace.

Shaaban Abou Zur took a degree in journalism at the University of Cairo in 1984. He started to work on a liberal opposition newspaper.

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It was a way of making my voice heard against the regime

– It was a way of making my voice heard against the regime, to fight for people’s freedom and for democracy in Egypt. Now many people have not had a taste of freedom for many years.

His job as a journalist in Cairo was risky. After seven years he made the hard decision to leave the country and his family.

In Sweden he encountered democracy, freedom and security.

DA Imamen Shaaban Abou Zur - Familjesidorna
DA Imamen Shaaban Abou Zur - Familjesidorna
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
quote
I like to lead a simple life

– I like to lead a simple life. That was why I was attracted to Kristianstad.

Having his heart in two countries isn’t easy. Sometimes he feels like half a person.His mother and sisters are stilll in Egypt. He likes to visit them.

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I feel that I am a global citizen, that I am part of the whole of humanity

– I feel that I am a global citizen, that I am part of the whole of humanity, no matter where I was born or which country I have come to.

What he misses most from Egypt is the Nile by night. He describes how the river is lit up from buildings along the waterside, how boats sail in all directions, the crowds of people and the night sky reflected in the river.

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The meaning of life is for peope to do their very best and to do good until they die

Shaaban Abou Zur works as an assistant at the library , and enjoys being among all the books. He is also an imam, a voluntary position. His congregation can contact him at any time, day or night. He Believes it is his duty to give back to the community and to help people.

– The meaning of life is for peope to do their very best and to do good until they die.

Shaaban Abou Zur was one of the founders of the Islamic congregation in Kristianstad. His brothers and sisters there elected him as their imam in 1994.

His aim is to fight against hate and crime in the community, along with the authorities, organisations and private citizens.

Now that he turnes 60 he believes he has found answers to the big questions in life. And he wants to be there for others who ponder over the meaning of life.

– It ’s an indicaton that I’m getting on a bit, he says, and laughs at the idea of being 60.

Facts

Shaaban Abou Zur

Born: in Egypt.
Lives: at Österäng in Kristianstad.
Now: will be 60 on 10th October. Usually celebrates quietly with a cake and a cosy evening with the family.
Wishes: that the pandemic will soon be over.
Family: married for 30 years to Ekran. Chldren Ahmed, Ajha and Mohammad. One grandchild.
Work: assistant at the library, and imam.
Leisure: fishing, running and reading.