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An invitation for lunch from a friendly Dane. Screenshot from Facebook

Difficult to find Danish friends

An honest story about the challenges and prejudices you meet as a refugee in Denmark, but with tolerance and patience you will find good friends, an Iranian refugee says.

By: Hamid Mukhtari

Many times I have heard refugees who say: “I want to integrate into the Danish society and have contact with Danes, but it’s difficult to make friends with them.” I have been in Denmark since 2014 and I have met both prejudiced Danes and I have found very good Danish friends.

Internship at a kindergarten
The media in Denmark is quite negative about refugees and it has a lot of effect in this regard and this makes me really sad. For example once I found an internship at a kindergarten and before I started they told me: “There is an employee from Israel here – do you have a problem with that?” And I said “of course not.”

Why should I have anything against Israel? Just because I am from the Middle East, according to the Media, I should hate Jews as a nation and Israel as a state. But according to me, the most intelligent people in the Middle East are actually Jews.

Do you have a problem with Christianity?
The second time I found an internship was at a Danish newspaper, and before I started they asked me: “Our newspaper is a little religious, do you have problem with that?” And I told them: “I am an atheist.”

Because of wrong information from media, people think Muslims are against other religions, but actually Muslims are the main victims of radical Islam.

Friends in Lyngby
When I moved to Lyngby I was alone. But after a short time I found many Danish friends there. Personally I think that integration does not mean you throw out your own culture, language and social values. On the contrary, integration means that all cultures can live together. It is just necessary that we as humans respect each other’s culture and have tolerance.

Hamid was invited out at restaurant for his birthday last year, where he got a a homemade scarf. Photo: Michael Bang

Danish families have invited me many times. Every weekend I go out with a Danish friend from the Volunteer Center in Lyngby and we walk and talk Danish together. And every week I have an appointment with my English teacher at the library. The friendly and helpful Danes are out there, but sometimes you have to ask for help to find them – and be patient.

Celebrations and ceremonies
Many times Danes have invited me to their place when they have traditional ceremonies or celebration such as Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday or birthdays. This year on my birthday, it was my Danish friends who invited me and came to my workplace and congratulated me with gifts.

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