I left the US because of their hatred towards Muslims… this is my story

Published: February 1, 2014

Everyday I would see hate stickers against Muslims at Harvard Medical School. PHOTO: AFP

I was born in 1982, in the beautiful American city of San Jose, California. A proud patriotic Muslim American, my dad would decorate our house with lights every Fourth of July.

Fast forward to the year 2001, when I got admitted to one of America’s top medical schools – the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving from San Jose was hard. I stayed in the dorm. Every morning, when I went to take a shower, I saw a sticker on one of the bathroom mirrors on my floor that said,

‘Whoever is a friend of the Muslims is a traitor of Christianity and of America’.

In the evenings, sometimes, I would go to the reading room to study. Right on the entrance door, I would find the same sticker. I saw similar messages written on public vans and buses and plastered on walls across Boston. I heard fiery speeches against Islam by Christian clerics in downtown Boston, some calling for my death.

I felt intimidated, unwelcomed and unaccepted.

I often wondered why there was not a single Christian student, out of the thousands at Harvard, who had the moral integrity to tear down the hate stickers on campus – hate stickers that openly attacked me for being Muslim.

Would Christ not preach universal love and peace?

What had happened to those who claimed to follow him?

I waited and waited for my five years at medical school but these stickers never came down.

Then, when I found out that a group of Christian students had forced the administration of Mt Sinai Medical School in New York to expel all 23 of its Muslim students from that medical school, and were threatening widespread violence, I forgot my own pain for a bit. At least I was still able to pursue my studies. These other students had lost their careers merely for having an identity.

Soon after, I also found out that Muslim engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were forbidden to eat in the university cafeteria and dorm kitchens. Christian student groups had complained that Muslim presence was making the food filthy and hurting the sentiment of ordinary Christians at MIT.

I forgot my pain once again. At least, I could still eat freely at Harvard.

The atmosphere of intimidation never grew calm. I had some Christian friends but most were friends as long as I did not express my religious views openly. Attacks on Muslims kept growing and discrimination against them had become an accepted norm. Even Muslim graves were attacked in cities across the US for polluting American soil. I still decided to stay in the US and help people in and around San Jose.

I continued to hope things would improve.

However, after a series of other targeted attacks on fellow Muslim doctors, I decided to leave the US in 2008. I could not take it anymore. I moved to Pakistan to pursue a career in cardiology. My friends ask me if I will ever return to the States. I think I will but not until the Christian clergy stops condemning me as ‘worthy of death’ and the American government stops jailing me for calling myself a Muslim openly and for professing my faith as I deem fit.

I miss the US a lot but I also love my new homeland. There are a few bigots here as well but I never have to worry about them. My friends come to my rescue before I know it. I am different but I am loved. I feel welcomed and accepted. I have the freedom to speak and profess my faith. Until my motherland is reformed, I shall stay in Pakistan God willing.

I am currently pursuing a degree in cardiology in Lahore and this is my story.

Key:

Pakistan = United States
United States = Pakistan
Harvard Medical School = King Edward Medical University
Mt Sinai Medical School = Punjab Medical College
MIT = University of Engineering and Technology (UET)
Christian = Other Muslims
Christianity = Islam
Christ = Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Muslims = Ahmadis
Boston = Lahore
Lahore = Boston
San Jose = Rabwah
New York = Faisalabad

kashif.chaudhry

Kashif Chaudhry

A graduate of King Edward Medical University in Lahore and Mt Sinai University Hospital in New York who is currently completing his Cardiology fellowship at Tufts University in Boston, USA. Kashif writes for various American newspapers and Pakistani publications and blogs at the Huffington Post. His interests include medicine, Pakistan affairs and Muslim-American community affairs. He tweets @KashifMD (twitter.com/KashifMD)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Red Man

    Who does the Muslim accommodate anywhere in the entire world? Why then would they have the gaul to expect accommodation? Its really an outrageous presumption on their part. Good luck back in your Muslim country which would completely mistreat every single non-muslim.Recommend

  • Fahd

    You gadhas, this story is criticising Pakistan, not the US. The author is pointing out flaws in Pakistan, and saying he is accepted in the USA, which you illiterate bufoons don’t seem to get because you’re reading it at face value. But if you took one second to use your brain to read the last ssection “Key”, which says replace Pakistan=US and replace US with Pakistan, then you’d understand the authors meaning. Ugh. Bhai saab, Pakistani Ahmadiyaa ko maar rahain hein, akal se kaam lo.Recommend

  • Fahd

    @Boston Wala: this is satire, i doubt you’re from Boston, you sound oblivious. He wrote a satirical piece, critisizing Pakistan, and in reality he is saying he feels accepted in USA. Author is Ahmadiyaa and left Pakistan because he feared for his life. Recommend

  • aisha

    After reading the comments on here, I think a lot of people didn’t read the section that was subtitled ‘KEY’!!! Either that or they didn’t understand it!! Recommend

  • Andalus Ayaz

    Brilliant piece of writing. I totally bought it and was asking myself, “What is this? What is this?” until I read the key. Should have caught the subtle clue about medical college, because in the U.S, medical program lasts for four years, not five. Anyway, great job!Recommend

  • farhan

    i dont think u all have read the whole key and the article
    it states an entirely different story
    just change the words using the key and read about the author too : he is currently residing in USA :)Recommend

  • PsyPher

    I seriously don’t beleive this. I’ve been living in the US since 2010, my sister came here in 1994 after getting married, my uncles have been living here since the 80s. My brother in law is kind of religious, opened a mosque and is successfully running it along with his jobs as am IT consultant.

    We have complete freedom to practice our religion. Heck they respect you when you tell them it’s the month of Ramadan and you need to fast for a month. They avoid eating in front of you and apologize.

    Considering you were working or studying with so many highly educated individuals who wouldn’t care less about the other person being a Muslim, cristian or belonging to any other religion, why would they perform such hateful activities?

    And let’s say they did, why would you just quit and leave? I agree there are few individuals who might be extremists, but that’s such a small minority that you wouldn’t even notice. Even the Americans, Christians and otherwise, condemn them for creating hate speech.

    From your blog, either I question the other thousands of Muslims studying, working and living there on how can they stand this or question the authenticity of this article. I’d rather go for the latter one. Sorry sir. Recommend

  • farhan

    @Sjhahid Cyrus:
    read the keyRecommend

  • Anonymous

    read the key at the end ;)Recommend

  • Hala Anjum Syed

    this is why you should read to see what the other person is actually saying before commenting. so many idiotic comments. Recommend

  • Saad

    Do people not read the FULL article before they start criticizing the author? Gosh, even the literate are illiterate Recommend

  • Indian

    you have not read the key part . please re read it. it is exactly opposite of what u understood. he is talking about discrimination in pakistan.

    Thanks
    @Annoynymous: Recommend

  • Indian

    sir read the key .

    @Mehdi: Recommend

  • Madan

    lol @ people blaming the author for not making it clear. It’s sarcasm, what did you expect. Self righteous anger at getting trolled? Recommend

  • U_SAF

    Ok, got it finally! KEYs!! lolRecommend

  • zeeshan

    @rewq:
    buddy… he moved from pak to usa…
    and hes a christian.
    See the KEY in the endRecommend

  • zeeshan

    @Annoynymous:
    Buddy he was talking about the christian hatred here in pakistan.
    Read the Key in the end of the story to understand the whole thingRecommend

  • zeeshan

    well .. good for you…
    More powerful thing to do would be to stand up and solve the issues.
    Im sure most pakistanis would take your side and esp literate ones.Recommend

  • LOL

    Any one read the key words ? :P Recommend

  • Zaid

    It looks like almost everyone reading this did not realize that this is satire piece. At the end it clearly says that in the story USA = Pakistan. What the author is trying to say is America is better for Muslims than Pakistan where Ahmadis are actually expelled from their schools for simply being Ahmadi. Recommend

  • READ THE KEY

    EVERYONE PLEASE READ THE KEY AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE BEFORE MAKING FORMING ANY JUDGEMENTS AND COMMENTING! Great article!Recommend

  • Ali Baloch

    I possibly can’t be the only one who read they key and then commented =/Recommend

  • ibnarastoo

    The situation of Ahmedis in Pakistan is very bad indeed. I am sorry about that. My generation (atleast as far as I am concerned) I have nothing against Ahmedis and I have friends who are Ahmedis (even though I grew up reading propaganda against Ahmedis in Ishtiaq Ahmed novels and in the rest of society). It is really sad how we have mistreated Ahmedis.

    Peace and love for all Ahmedis.Recommend

  • Tanveer

    wow… nice creative writing, if I haven’t looked at the key I would surely have thought of this as a piece of fantasy Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Muhammad Javed Iqbal Khan:

    Lots of incidents of Ahmedis killed by sectarianism in Pak, in this paper alone, since 2007, notably bombing of Ahmedi worshippers in 2010 (how’d you miss that large, not long ago slaughter?). Besides terrorism, there’s common bigotry and violence.

    End of 2013 a Ahmedi family was massacred out of religious hate. Yea, Sunni extremists do kill other Sunni/Shia Muslims (Christians/Jews in your key) and other Pakistani minorities. But daily prejudice abuse from those above, who aren’t extremist or terrorist in the classic sense, against minorities, such as Ahmedis, persists at multiple levels.

    You hypocritically mock their patriotism, but its hard when by Pak law they’re 3rd class citizens and persecuted openly (school expulsion, high frequency of frivolous blasphemy cases, mob attacks, targeted killings, etc). Kind of natural some will find refuge elsewhere (US), where they can practice and speak free, tell experience of intolerance in their own homeland. Its propaganda and lies to those majority Pakistanis in denial, bias or cruelty about minorities discrimination and plight in apparently ‘totally free, human rights haven’ Pakistan.Recommend

  • Nada

    I’m surprised so many people have ignored the key and started commenting on in fact moving back to ‘Pakistan’ was a good idea. Refer to the key people!Recommend

  • Unknown

    Another medical doctor, hmm why medical doctors have stopped their practice and have started writing blogs?Recommend

  • AA

    Hey guys, read the key at the end before you start commenting on the article. Recommend

  • Arshman

    That was brilliant! Good job! (y)Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/theprecambrian Jawad baig

    Very nicely put by Kashif. Irony is that unfortunately am witness to many such incidents. In fact, I was one of very few people in UET, who would take Ahmadies to hostel mess for lunch/dinner. I was asked by few students to stop it, I asked the same question that Kashif has portrayed in the article, what if it happens with muslims in US & other states? There was no answer. I know Kashif for good 8 years now and we do have lot of debates on religion still I agree to the message of this article, NO TO DISCRIMINATION of any type.Recommend

  • Zainab M

    You silly fellow it’s fictionalised. He’s writing as if we as Muslims experienced this how would we react? Funny u mention law suits and international uproar. Now imagine this is what Ahmadis endure in this country of yours and now rewrite your response! @Boston Wala: Recommend

  • Asghar

    I think the comments are what the author wanted everyone to focus on! :) In the comments, people actually still think that Pakistan could be that way (tolerant and all) and it is the USA that is doing all of this BS with muslims in an intolerant and rather public manner! Beautiful article and beautiful technique!Recommend

  • George

    You are wasting your time with this readership base Kashif. About 1 in 10 had the patience to read the whole article and get the point. Sums up the problem in Pakistan right now.Recommend

  • Komal

    @Boston Wala: You’ve completely missed the point.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Sadly, majority of the readers as it is evident from the comments did not understand the article, since, the whole meaning and message of the article changes by reading and understanding the “Key” mentioned at the end of the article, which, i assume, most people haven’t read.Recommend

  • mahrukh

    haahha wow.the people who commented need to read the key!
    reverse psychology?yeah..Recommend

  • Khurram Awan

    None of the people have been able to understood the key and they are commenting. This article is about the persecution in the Pakistani Society. The Boston is actually Lahore and in the past more than 20 students were actually struck out from One medical college of Punjab based on Religious Grounds and he was referring to it Mt Sinai Medical School in New York is actually Punjab medical college Faisalabad. . Boston is actually Lahore where there is a widespread hatred against Religious Minorities and i live in Lahore and i agree with this notion as well. Recommend

  • salman

    @Boston Wala:
    Ohh bhai … atleast read the key at end of his blog … he is not talking about America or its universities … he us talking about Pakistan and the universities culture over here … cant believe hiw ppk don’t read and understand the whole thing and just go about commentingRecommend

  • salman

    Ohh bhai … atleast read the key at end of his blog … he is not talking about America or its universities … he us talking about Pakistan and the universities culture over here … cant believe hiw ppk don’t read and understand the whole thing and just go about commentingRecommend

  • AA

    I find it interesting how half the people commenting failed to get the point of this blog. Beautifully penned, and point well made. I’ve lived and studied abroad and I know how the discrimination within Pakistan and abroad compares. Glad you’re healthy and happy where you are.Recommend

  • Correction

    @Boston Wala:

    Such a fool are you!! Read the key man and then doubt your own common sense and reasoning!! Recommend

  • jowhar

    @Saad Ahmed:
    bigots are bigots, most of the commenters are not getting the author is swapping places and names. he is equating your Pakistan as the USA. at the end of the article, you can find a “KEY”. change everything.Recommend

  • OmniFace

    @Boston Wala:

    Read the key. Swap the appropriate words, then reconsider your comments.Recommend

  • Behlim

    Eddied was the clever one to get the real Quintessence of the Blog.
    The Author has puzzled every one, Please read to the end and replace the words mentioned in key, and you will understand the real meaning of this blog.Recommend

  • Jamal

    FOLLOW THE KEY PEOPLE!!!!Recommend

  • Manny

    I think most of the people commenting here do not understand what a “key” is.
    This article is actually about prejudice against Ahmedies by other Muslims happening in universities/colleges here in Pakistan. The author eventually moves to America where he feels his religion in more tolerated.Recommend

  • Jamal

    @unbelievable:
    Read the keyRecommend

  • abhi

    Instead of just mentioning the key at the end, I think it would be better if some helpful hint is also given (e.g. in above article replace USA by Pakistan, muslims with ahemdis etc. to understand the actual events). Recommend

  • ali

    @Saad Ahmed:
    awwww so cute :)Recommend

  • Abu-Zar Butt

    @JayMankind: great response :) being steadfast and confident is the key to survive for any person anywhere in the world :)Recommend

  • Muzammil

    What the .. how can you expect people to understand the plight of minorities when they cannot even get a grip of the article. Recommend

  • Abu-Zar Butt

    @JayMankind: But I beileve u have missed the key, he is talking about the sectarianism in Pakistan and totally opposite in US, read the key at the bottom of the article to understand it better :)Recommend

  • mn

    Everyone is ready this article wrong. See the “Key” section at the end. This is exposing the hatred against Ahmadis in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Kashif, you don’t seem to have the courage to say these things directly. Most of the comments from readers seem to point out that they did not click the links in the post, or didn’t see the key below. I have been a part of a movement regarding Ahmadis’ and Muslims’ relationships and I know the deep truths inside. All the links in your post point to articles that are sure to arouse hatred in communities. Instead of pointing at others and crying injustice, bring your good aspects out (if any).Recommend

  • Bilal

    The article had me going until I read the key….and the comments made me LOLed..!!Recommend

  • Ameer Hamid

    Read the whole thing including the key, you blabbering idiots. The article is not about Boston at all, it’s about how minorities face hardships in their own country and have to go abroad to find acceptance and security.Recommend

  • http://myfrequentranting.wordpress.com Bemused

    LOL @ all the stupid people who commented after reading the first two paragraphs. Tribune has got some intelligent readers. (sarcastically speaking since most here apparently don’t understand)Recommend

  • http://myfrequentranting.wordpress.com Bemused

    @zeeshan: he is an ahmadi. read the key.Recommend

  • Ameer Shaheed

    This is we need to listen to Jamaat-e-Islami who figtinhg to stop the disintegration of Pakistan by its enemies. Recommend

  • Bushra

    Everyone who is jumping the gun- please see the key at the end of the article. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely, nicely done……… It quickly became apparent as to where you were going with this. One realy did not have to read it standing on his head to figure out it was written in an upside-down style.
    The intollerance and religious extremism we see is because of our own doing………and many who had a big hand in this doing are now living the good life in America, UK, Australia, Canada, Dubai and yes also keep one leg in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ex-Ahmadi

    And I left Jamaat e Ahmadiyya due to similar hatred and ostractizing behaviour of fellow Khudaam and Ansarullahs.
    Now my family (who remain steadfast Ahmadis inspite of such behaviour on part of Jamaat) is being publicly shamed over my departure.

    Model Colony.
    KarachiRecommend

  • Anas

    Coming back to Pakistan?? A country itself stuck in religious discrimination. Where so called national heros spread hatred against minorities, publicly spread hate against the other sects, violently scream on the Fridays against Nonreligious, Non practicing Muslims.
    Still the minorities like Shias, Qadyanis, Christians and others try to live happily in their reserved, shrinked capacity of life.
    I simply feel you should not have just stereotyped the whole nation on bases of some bigots.
    Nor should you judge Pakistan positively as a whole, nor USA negatively as a whole.Recommend

  • Sasha

    Guys you need to switch the geographical places as mentioned underneath in order to understand this. Author is trying to expose the discrimination of Ahmadi Muslims (or any minority group) in Pakistan. Pakistanis pay attention towards their discrimination abroad but do not look in their own backyard. This is a brilliant post that you need to read twice in order to understand. Recommend

  • khiz

    read Key at the end, article is not about USA, very well written indeedRecommend

  • Wajahat

    Add to the key
    Mt Sinai Medical School in New York= Chenab Public School, Dharanwali area of HafizabadRecommend

  • Talha Ahmed

    People! People! People!!

    Learn to read before writing. Please read the key at the end. Use your brains, and then comment.

    Brilliantly written. Extremism in Pakistan is at its peak right now.Recommend

  • skeptic

    @Boston Wala: I’d recommend that you read the article all the way to the end … it is not what you think it actually is. Specifically … check the Key that translates and tells you what it really says.Recommend

  • ahmet

    Doesnt anyone here know how to use a key?Recommend

  • fact is fact

    @Boston Wala: Read the key pleaseRecommend

  • naqiya

    Read the keys peopleRecommend

  • Uzair hates you all

    We can gauge the intelligence level of some of the readers of this article by just the fact that they actually thought that the writer was talking about US. Read the key, people..read the key.Recommend

  • wot mate

    @Boston Wala:
    Did you not see the key at the end? Replace the words with the words in the keyRecommend

  • Mehdi

    @Indian:

    I did and apologized. We all got into the trap of not reading the blogs or the comments carefully. At least I did. Well one thing we can all agree that it was written about Pakistan, where humans decides who gets to be pious Muslim not the almighty.Recommend

  • Usman

    Haha.. Great work buddy!!
    Whats more amazing is when I get to read the comments and most of them have just not figured it out! some incredible masterpieces out there!Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @abubakar:

    Yes I know what it stands for. I just don’t like your interpretation. If you are in a business to decide who is Muslim or not , then you are in the right place called Pakistan. Hope I don’t see your kind in USA. So prior to 1974 Ahmedis were considered Muslim ? Some were very influential member of Muslim leagues prior to 1947 ? Sir, you need to understand the basic concept of Islam, which is to spread compassion towards who humanity.Recommend

  • An Ahmadi

    So where should I move when I read stickers saying “We dont do business with Ahmadis” , ” Whoever is a friend of Ahmadis is not a Muslim” and so on….Recommend

  • Ahmadi Supporter

    @Boston Wala:
    Talk about not comprehending the blog..Recommend

  • Ha

    The comment section on this article is a comprehensive list of idiots who didn’t read till the endRecommend

  • Your Friend

    Please use find and replace with keys mentioned towards the end of the article
    @Boston Wala: Recommend

  • oBSERVER

    There must be something wrong with this writer. He has written total nonsense. They do not misbehave unless you do. My personal experience and my family’s experience are totally the opposite. Some of the nicest souls you come across in that country. I give a tap to Tribune for allowing this piece and isolated incident if at all true, which I doubt. Recommend

  • ATTA UL HADI SINDHU

    Hahahahahaha… Nyc Chd shb… I appreciate ur sarcasm Recommend

  • Faisal

    Before commenting, a majority of people didn’t give the ‘F’ to read the Keys given at the end of the article, rephrase the article, and then come to a conclusion. Such an illiterate society we have become!Recommend

  • rishi

    @Boston Wala:

    Mr. Boston wala!

    Read ” The key ” at the end. Then go back through the article replacing the left column with the right column. I know its pretty burdensome. So let me decode it for you.

    This is a satirical piece, titled the way it is so that it attracts more readers to notice and read. The author is actually talking about him being Pakistani and moving to America never to return.

    I do think that its a bit cruel to give such hope to the run-of-the-mill Pakistani only to dash it at the end.Recommend

  • Lol

    More than the article, the comments present the true plight of our society. How incredibly moved are we at the thought of Muslim persecution in America. The majority of these self-righteous, self-proclaimed ‘victims’ haven’t even bothered reading the full article to see that the author is not even writing about America. Ankhein kholo. I’m not condoning the article, or taking sides. But it’s really beautiful to see how willing we are to condemn others of carrying out the same criminal injustices that we commit on a daily basis. If you are so against Muslim persecution, then atleast have the decency to condemn all sorts of religious persecution. Don’t be selective in speaking against such inhumanity. Recommend

  • http://insidedisillusion.wordpress.com Mahwash Badar

    reads comments

    Facepalm.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/AreebahShahid Areebah Shahid

    Read the key.. @Stephanie: :)Recommend

  • musahary

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ahhhhh omgRecommend

  • http://www.pltacademy.com Travel_Tart

    Very sad… I am crying :(Recommend

  • Ahmad Waqass Goraya

    Morons! This is SATIRE. read till end. Don’t start sharing it as truth. Recommend

  • Bin Ismail

    Dear Kashif,

    After going through the comments – most of them – all I can say is that perhaps you should have given your article the following title:

    WARNING: Please read the KEY twice before you post your comment.

    Good satire by the way.Recommend

  • Jazib

    @Boston Wala:

    You sir, did not undersand this article at all! All of these incidents didn’t take place in the US.
    Hint: Read key.Recommend

  • Jazib

    One of the best written pieces I have ever read on tribune. For a while I was confused about the facts you were stating in the article, until I read the key. Very nicely put. It is indeed a sad aspect of our society.
    But what hurts me more is that the top comments here totally missed the point! And the fact that they are top comments marks the height of our over-emotional society. Just react without thinking! Recommend

  • suhail

    @Boston Wala:

    Dude you don’t get the point of this blog post do you? Did you see the “Key” at the end of the article? Let me help you out here. USE that KEY and read the article again substituting the words he mentions first with the words they equate to, and you will understand why its such a brilliant piece of writing!Recommend

  • unknown

    @Boston Wala:
    I live in Boston too. Read the key at the bottom of the article bro.Recommend

  • imran

    @Boston Wala:

    read the full article Recommend

  • parliament certified muslim

    @Kashif Chaudhry
    Dear Brother-in-Parliament-certified-Islam
    Someone has tampered with your excellent article by adding a false “Key” to it, at the end. This must be the doing of the Jews. Your article is true to the letter. I am happy that you have finally taken refuge in the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. The problem in living in the US is that their Congress has still not defined, through any constitutional amendment, terms such as “Islam” and “Muslim”. That’s why each and every true Muslim living in the US, has serious identity issues. We in Pakistan, however, were able to finally define the term “Muslim”, after 14 centuries, in 1974. We are ahead of the US. This was done through a constitutional amendment called the “Second Amendment”. According to this historic amendment, if you call yourself a “Muslim” and are not an Ahmadi, you are a Muslim. What a beautiful definition. Recommend

  • Hamid Jalal

    @Boston Wala: please read the key at the end first, then commentRecommend

  • Hamid Jalal

    @zeeshan: First part yes. But not a christian.he,s an Ahmadi MuslimRecommend

  • nc

    Everyone that is hating, just relax! This i why the say read till the very end! You missed the entire point! Refer to the key at the very end!

    GREAT WORK!Recommend