Northern Ireland is becoming more diverse but newcomers still stand out more than they would like to. For Muneera, a mother of three from Sudan, to blend in and become part of one of Belfast’s neighbourhoods was the ultimate dream. Five years ago, she escaped the turmoil of the Bashir regime and left everything behind as her family made for Belfast.
Arriving at the UK is known as “the big victory” back home. After two anxious years of being processed through various hostels, Muneera thought that victory had finally come. In 2016, her asylum application was approved, and in 2018 she was offered social housing at a new development on East Belfast’s Beersbridge Road.
Three nights later, the night before Muneera and her family moved in, 15 of the house’s windows were smashed and the words LOCAL ONLY were sprayed across its walls. Police told Muneera the attack was probably carried out by rogue teenagers, but found no suspects. Muneera doubts that narrative, recalling how she felt watched every time she went to view her house during its construction.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies