Imagine moving to a different country, away from family and friends, and the culture shock that comes from a change in surroundings and customs.
Nasser Alsabaie looked forward to change. Born in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, he moved to Utah with his family when he was 21 years old.
“I [did] research about Utah and [the] people here,” he says. “[Going to] the University of Utah is a [big] goal for me.”
Since his arrival, Alsabaie has found Utah to be a home away from home.
“I found [Salt Lake] so much alike as my hometown, [it’s] safe and [very] religious,” he says.
Alsabaie will graduate from SLCC this fall with a degree in respiratory therapy and will attend the University of Utah next year.
“My father wanted me to be a mechanical engineer, my mother wants me to be lawyer, [but] I like helping people,” he says. “I found myself majoring in respiratory therapy, as a life saver.”
With his future looking bright, Alsabaie wants to enlighten others about his own faith.
“Islam is two-fold, meaning peace and submission to God,” he explains, “[and] Muslim means one who submits to the will of God.”
He goes on to say, “Islam simply applies to the same natural logic of the universe, and the environment around us which is amazing and [so] well organized [with] interrelated systems that [we] witness the existence of a powerful creator.”
As an example of peace within Islam, Alsabaie quotes an Islamic rule from the Quran: “Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and to not do wrong even if they commit evil.”
The fear of Islam in America has been brought to the surface because of recent statements by presidential candidate Donald Trump and the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. But Alsabaie sees the bigger picture.
“I feel safe, it’s like my second home [here], but I do get some different looks while I’m speaking my language,” he says.
Alsabaie reminds us that certain attacks that come from people who identify as Muslim do not represent Islam as a whole.
“Muslims are really lovely people,” he says. “We are always open for one another.”
He also encourages those who aren’t familiar with Islam to do their own research, as “not everything shown [is] true. Do your [own] research before judging others.”