"As a teacher I use my hands in thinking so I can explain more or give a hint. My hands reflect my inner thoughts. If I’m angry or if I’m happy or if I’m in supplication to God, my hands reflect my feeling and thoughts. I am learning sign language for my grandson who doesn't speak."
When Hamed lived in Russia, he learned that some ways he used his hands could be offensive to others. "When we use our hands in our culture, the same move we use can be an insult in another culture. Using hands sometimes in different cultures might mean different things. Words, too. The accent could mean something different."
Hamed teaches and volunteers with people of all ages. He also gives talks at schools and businesses. For the last fifteen years, he and Safaa have helped to created a group, the Islamic Association of Mankato, where they have tutored school children and provided free medical help to those in need. "For the last twenty years, I go to St. Peter and join the priests there to talk with the inmates at the prison. We don't just talk with Muslims; we talk with anyone. We love the place. We are human. We have to help each other."
"I don't want people to be afraid of Muslims. I wish the entire world to know now that we are in a small village and we have to learn to live in peace with each other. This is what we hope. This is what we live."