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CNN SUNDAY

Afghans in America: Isolation and Worry

Aired November 26, 2001 - 18:41   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Afghans living in America find it hard to watch what's happening in their country, a country that is torn by war. And as Muslims, many are enduring isolation and hard times in the United States.

CNN's Anne McDermott introduces us to one such family in California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE OVER): Meet the reigning Miss Afghanistan. Actually Zohra Daoud won the title more than 20 years ago, but then came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the pageants ended and Daoud and her new husband fled to America.

There they watched in horror as the Taliban took over their homeland and later they would simply watch in horror. And once again, Afghanistan became a battleground.

And suddenly Zohra and Mohammed Daoud were no longer Afghans who became Americans, no longer immigrants who made good with a house in the hills of Malibu, California. They were Afghans. They were Muslims, and they were nervous.

ZOHRA DAOUD: We felt a little bit isolated.

MOHAMMED DAOUD: We were scared. No, we were scared.

MCDERMOTT: Their two girls simply shrugged it all off.

WOANA DAOUD: She got teased. She got made fun of, but they took care of it. The people apologized to her.

MCDERMOTT: Now their parents are hoping maybe this time once it's over, Afghanistan will have a government of the people.

ZOHRA DAOUD: Because the Afghan people, they are so deprived from love, peace, education for such a long time, you know. When I see them on TV, it's really, it breaks my heart.

MCDERMOTT: They'd like to go home and help their country and maybe someday they will. In the meantime, Zohra Daoud hosts a radio show for fellow Afghan refugees. Her husband is a pilot for United Airlines. But when they're not working, they're watching TV news and they wonder when it will end.

MOHAMMED DAOUD: Afghanistan has been the whipping boy of the whole world.

MCDERMOTT: They both like to point out that bin Laden and his deputies are not Afghans. Afghans, they say, want a country that's free, and they point to one of their most prized possessions, a statue by an Afghan artist.

MOHAMMED DAOUD: And this is called a mujahad (ph), a freedom fighter.

MCDERMOTT: Anne McDermott, CNN, Malibu, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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