Stories about prejudice

Dear Adam Saleh, hijacking Muslim sentiments is not funny

From CNN to Al Jazeera, Adam Saleh’s video has made headlines across the world. We got kicked out of a @Delta airplane because I spoke Arabic to my mom on the phone and with my friend slim… WTFFFFFFFF please spread pic.twitter.com/P5dQCE0qos — Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016 Retweeted over 769,000 times on Twitter, the shocking footage shows him being escorted off a Delta airlines plane where he expresses outrage for getting booted. His crime, he says, was speaking a few lines of Arabic on the phone to his mother, an offense that was too much for his fellow passengers. As expected, many online reacted with disgust. Was just forced to leave ...

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I am a Hindu and I will not remove ‘Inzamam’ from my name

It happened seven years ago in Surat, Gujarat. My sixth grade hockey team was staying back for practice, and we were taking a break, cooling off beneath the shade. Suddenly, one of my friends went a bit to the side and spat. This odd behaviour by my well-mannered teammate aroused my curiosity, and I questioned him about it. He explained that it was the month of Ramazan and he wasn’t supposed to swallow anything. I took it as a quirk of his religion and let it go, remembering the several fasts kept by the Hindu aunties in my colony. Looking back, it ...

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A Muslim’s open letter to Bill Maher

Dear Bill (I hope you don’t mind if I call you Bill because it’s the nicest word I can use to describe you at this point), We get it. You are an aggressive atheist, you abhor religions. For you, it is fashionable to be controversial. Being edgy is part of your job description. Congratulations, you are now so edgy that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News agrees with your views. ‘Bill the Liberal’ and ‘Bill the Conservative’ have now found common ground – Islamophobic bigotry. Let me ask you, Bill, are you back-paddling out of the muddy creek you created on your HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, last weekend with ...

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Ben Affleck, Islamophobia and the Western media

I am a Christian Bale aficionado, especially for his portrayal as Batman. So when it was announced that Ben Affleck is going to be featured as the new Batman in an upcoming movie, I was heartbroken. But putting that aside, in the recent episode between Bill Maher and Affleck that has been stirring quite the hype, I am going to try to pledge my allegiance with Affleck and let my conscience agree to him being Batman. If you have been following the recent clash between Maher and Affleck, then let’s give a high five to Affleck for standing up against Islamophobia. Generalising an entire population is, in ...

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Today, let’s celebrate Malala Yousafzai

“Live, Malala!” I remember seeing this line somewhere on social media when Malala was shot. I remember sitting anxiously, watching the television, while channels aired the live coverage of Malala being shifted to a hospital in England for treatment. I remember the moment I found out that she was shot. I couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe the news. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. October 09, 2012 – almost exactly two years ago, she was returning from school when a masked gunman had asked her name and shot her at point blank range thrice. Thrice. She was just 14. There were many ...

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How deep-rooted is religious intolerance in Pakistan?

Statistics have labelled Pakistan one of the world’s premier terrorism affected nations. However the one silver lining in the cloud of an extremist attack is a unified chant of ‘yeh hum naheen’ (this is not who we are). But when a beloved young athlete displays religious bias, can we really comfort ourselves with the same philosophy? Footage showing Pakistani opener, Ahmed Shehzad, making religious comments to Sri Lanka’s player, Tillakaratne Dilshan, has caused a media frenzy and propelled an official Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) probe into the matter. In the video Shehzad is heard saying, “If you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no ...

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Is morality determined by the length of a woman’s blouse?

Over time I have noticed a common trend on Pakistani Facebook pages, especially those of designers and celebrities: crude, caustic and downright hateful slandering of celebrities. I recently stumbled upon a picture of Humaima Malick looking gorgeous in an elegant Élan ensemble and all I could think of was the talent and beauty that exists in our country. But then I read the bitterest of verbal abuses on the picture, which included: “She is lookin’ dumb and her makeup is damn worst” “Kitni ugly hai pata nai kyun uthaya hua hai isko” “This is behayaee and immoral behaviour” Photo: Élan Facebook Page Apparently, showing inches ...

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Pakistani women, cricket and their dilemma

To stand in the sunlight, over the lush green grass of a cricket ground, surrounded by hordes of people cheering you on while you aim to annihilate the stumps with that ball in your hand is no longer just a man’s dream. Today, women too aspire to have a career in cricket and recent events have shown that they are very much capable of becoming great cricketers. The Pakistan women’s cricket team made it to the limelight when the national squad won medals in the 2010 Asian Games and brought glory to their nation. This was a major milestone, not just for the ...

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A social pariah even in Maryland – all because I am Shia

After almost two years, I returned to my old home town in Maryland. It was a small town and when I had lived there, nearly 40 Pakistani families resided in the area; most of them were from Punjab and a few were from Karachi. Many of these Pakistanis were physicians, pharmacists and businessmen. My husband was also a physician; hence we had anticipated many similarities within the neighbourhood. However, soon after we moved in, I realised how wrong we were. Even though I made a few good friends, I never felt wanted in the neighbourhood. The reason I left Maryland in the first place was the ...

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Pride and prejudice: The case of Abdus Salam

Pakistan’s collective diary has had quite a few pages ruthlessly torn out of it. The chapter of Abdus Salam is also one of those classic tragedies that are symptomatic of deeper ills pervading our society. The story of his rapid descent from the position of an honourable presidential advisor to that of a heretic in exile speaks volumes about a number of issues – the value we place on education and science, the heroes we pick and choose, and the treatment meted out to minorities in this country – each one of these being as relevant on his 88th birth anniversary today ...

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