This is a translated version of an interview I did with Fikri Rofiul, A MDF alumni who is studying at a Gazan University. You may inspect the Indonesian version here.
I have translated it in its entirety and I hope you enjoy the interview. Thank you.
Rifki Kusmana: Assalamualaikum Brother Fikri, my name is Rifki Kusmana, the grandson of Prof. Dede Kusmana and Mrs. Lies Kusmana. May I interview you for the MDF website?
Fikri Rofiul: Wa’alaikumussalam. That’s fine, please continue.
Rifki Kusmana: Can you introduce yourself?
Fikri Rofiul: Yes, my name is Fikri Rofiul, majoring in Ushuluddin. I was born in Kupang, and I am the eldest of 4 children.
Rifki Kusmana:Okay, before going to MDF, what was life like for you?
Fikri Rofiul: Before I became a student of the MDF Islamic Boarding School, I was a student of the Al-Fatah Islamic Boarding School where I attended school from early childhood to MA Grade 1.
Rifki Kusmana: What made you choose MDF?
Fikri Rofiul: Actually, the story is, my Wadi Mubarok registration was not accepted and in the end I was placed in MDF, because at that time MDF cooperated with Wadi Mubarok, because in my batch there were several people who immediately registered with MDF. Some MDF students were also sent from Wadi Mubarok, one of which was me.
Rifki Kusmana: When you were at MDF, what was your best experience?
Fikri Rofiul: My best experience was where I was able to be one of the mu’azin in the MDF mosque and also the taraweh imam at that time.
Rifki Kusmana: Masyaallah, why are you studying in Gaza? Is this your Dream?
Fikri Rofiul: Yes, this is one of my goals since elementary school where I wanted to study in the Middle East and at that time what I wanted was going in a comfortable country, but thank God because my Abi has gone several times to Gaza so that he has a channel to enroll me in a university in Gaza, Palestine.
Rifki Kusmana: Wow, subhanallah. So how is your life in Gaza? What is the situation like?
Fikri Rofiul: Alhamdulillah my own life is very pleasant here because apart from being a student, I also volunteer at the humanitarian and medical institution, namely MER-C (Medical Emergency Rescue Committee) and I thank God I contributed to aid contributions for Gaza such as providing winter aid and the closest program, currently the Romahdon program.
Rifki Kusmana: What about the people of Gaza alone?
Fikri Rofiul: The life of the people of Gaza itself is actually very difficult because considering that Gaza has been blockaded by Israel for a long time, where the unemployment rate is very high, yesterday there was also something viral that a resident had completed his master’s degree and was also taking medicine sells strawberries in the market, and it illustrates how difficult it is to find a job in Gaza itself, and what’s worse is the impact of this Israeli blockade that makes electricity in Gaza not fully lit all day long in Gaza. Fishermen are restricted from looking for fish, as well as water that has been polluted a lot because the wars that have been going through have made the materials from the bombs damaged the water in Gaza, and the situation here that makes us not free to carry out activities is being monitored by Israeli drone 24 Hours.
Rifki Kusmana: Hmm, OK. Compared to MDF, how is life at your University?
Fikri Rofiul: Alhamdulillah, life at my University is quite good, I have learned a lot here, such as interpretation, history, and Arabic. But what I feel is that the atmosphere is quite different from MDF, where the atmosphere when memorizing the Al-Quran in MDF is very suitable because MDF itself is located in a village so the air is very cool and surrounded by beautiful scenery such as rice fields and fish ponds. I did not get that in life in Gaza itself, and quite different is life in this university is that I study in a conflict country where one day war will occur, and I have also experienced an 11-day war yesterday in 2021 between Gaza and Israel, where all schools and universities were stopped, and I could do it again because until now there have been conflicts that have not ended.
Rifki Kusmana: What can be expected for the future of Palestine?
Fikri Rofiul: What is expected is the independence of Palestine and the reclaiming of the first qibla of Muslims, namely the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of the Zionists, as well as opening the Israeli blockade of Palestine, especially in Gaza itself.
Rifki Kusmana: After Nathayenu’s exit there seems to be a change in the Israeli government, can a solution be found?
Fikri Rofiul: There is no solution, because until now the Israeli occupation is still often carried out by the Israeli side in the West Bank/West Bank, such as disrupting Muslim worship in the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, constructing buildings on Palestinian land, and also destroying the gardens belonging to the people there.
Rifki Kusmana: The last question, how old are Palestinian children who have memorized the Qur’an?
Fikri Rofiul: Palestinian children have memorized the Koran from an early age so that on average Gaza children have memorized the Koran 30 Juz in elementary school or 11/12 years old, and what is more unique is in Gaza itself every house must have children who memorize the Koran even I have met a lot of whose entire family members are memorizers of the Koran.
Rifki Kusmana: Okay, thank you brother for your time, I hope you are always healthy, Insha Allah.
Fikri Rofiul: Yes you’re welcome, I hope everyone is healthy always and send greetings to Prof. Dede too.