Nabra Hassanen’s murder doesn’t come out of nowhere; it is embedded into the structure of American society

In the early hours of June 18th, Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old black Egyptian Muslim girl was kidnapped, beaten with a bat, and dumped into a pond. The Virginia police ruled out the incident as ‘road rage’. However, it’s incredibly difficult to believe any instance of road rage involves the premeditated forethought of kidnapping a girl, dragging her into a car, and covering up the evidence by submerging what’s left of her into a body of water. The murder sparked a fresh wave of fear for Muslims in America, who have lived in terror of hate crimes since 9/11. Muslims now struggle with the possibility of being ...

Read Full Post

It is not the cows that they want to protect, it’s the Muslims they want to kill

It is a sin being a Muslim in India today, but a blessing if you’re a cow. Otherwise, how else can you justify the uninterrupted killings and lynching of Muslim men in the name of cows ever since Narendra Modi assumed power in May 2014? The latest victim is a man called Alimuddin, aka Asgar Ali, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. He was allegedly transporting some meat and the cow protection group (an euphemism for radical and extremist Hindu militant groups) intercepted the vehicle and beat him to death without verifying the content of the vehicle. Their hatred towards Muslims is so extreme that it’s the name that invites revulsion. ...

Read Full Post

Who is a Pakistani? A Muslim? A desperate migrant? Different from an Indian? A caged woman?

Over the past two years, I have travelled to 15 countries, either by myself or with friends. Before this nomadic lifestyle of mine, I had lived my entire life within a bubble in Pakistan, and honestly, the question of what it meant to be a Pakistani never occurred to me. But as I travelled and met more people whose cultures and values were as foreign to me as mine were to them, my innate assumptions about the notion of the Pakistani identity were challenged. Numerous people helped me reflect on the overarching perceptions of my country. I was a medium through which they could know more about a ...

Read Full Post

Dear Pakistan, I know our history is complicated, but our friendship is greater. Love, India

When I was a little girl, it was customary for our family to watch at least one new movie every month. Back then, movie titles were always displayed in English, Hindi and Urdu. Therefore, while English remained my primary language of communication, I ended up speaking both Hindi and Urdu fluently. I grew up in Mumbai which has a strong cosmopolitan culture. I grew up with friends and neighbours from different faiths, and was simultaneously introduced to Diwali and Eid, to Navratra and Ramazan, even as my friends got to know more about Christmas and Lent. It was because of this multi-cultural experience that I got to learn so much about the ...

Read Full Post

If you think Qatar’s ostracism is an awful misunderstanding, you are dead wrong

Queen was never my first choice of music when I was an avid music lover during my youth. I guess Freddie Mercury’s antics were not really to my taste. I stopped listening to music over the years because I wanted to choose mental clarity over residual ideals that music brings with it. However, there have been several events throughout world politics that have reminded me of Queen and their seminal classic ‘Another one bites the dust’ – Qatar’s expulsion from the fold of ‘peace-loving’ Arab nations being the most recent example. To everyone who thinks that Qatar’s ostracism by its once chummy Arab buddies namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United ...

Read Full Post

The London mosque incident was not only an attack against Muslims, but an attack against all of London

On Monday, as the clock struck midnight, Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old from Cardiff, drove a rented white van over innocent people outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Eleven innocent people were injured while one succumbed to injuries. Onlookers recalled Osborne shouting, “I want to kill all Muslims.” Why did he commit this act? What were his motives? What does he want? I suppose we will find out more over time, though one thing is for sure – as much as this attack is against Muslims, it is also an attack against London. I’m glad each and every political figure condemned this attack, regardless of the attacker’s ...

Read Full Post

Why is my brown skin, unapologetically bearded face, and big backpack a threat to you?

Reading about the developments from Finsbury Park, London, where Darren Osborne drove a van onto innocent civilians leaving a Mosque makes me sad, upset, and angry, but it is not shocking. We all know the media has been presenting an “us versus them” narrative when covering Muslims; that we reject western values and our way of life is out of tune with yours. But yours is mine, too. I use the tube to commute every day, like the rest of you. I use it to get to school, exhibitions, friend’s places, parties, just like you. Countless times, I’ve walked to the platform at Holborn ...

Read Full Post

Dear Paresh Rawal, “you can change friends, but not neighbours”. Love, Pakistan

Dear Paresh Rawal, Writing this letter to you was difficult since I did not know where to begin, and I feel that the rapidly changing dynamics of India-Pakistan relations and this letter are quite similar in this regard. However, let us focus on the reason why I have written this letter before we get on to the seesaw that our countries have been riding over the last seven decades. Hera Pheri was your first movie I watched in my childhood, and believe me when I say it still triggers fits of laughter every single time I watch it. Babu bhaiya has thousands of fans in your ...

Read Full Post

Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing political messiah, has well and truly arrived. And he makes jam!

This was supposed to be a bloodbath. This was supposed to be a funeral. This was supposed to be utter humiliation for Jeremy Corbyn, for this was supposed to be the day that Theresa May finally put to rest the party that had been the arch nemesis of the Conservatives (Tories) once and for all. So said the press, so said the pundits, so said the Tories, and even the Labour establishment. Yet, they were all wrong, for the voters had other ideas. Even as his colleagues sharpened their knives, Labour, under Corbyn’s brilliant leadership, exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. Not only did they retain the ...

Read Full Post

Pulling out of the Paris climate agreement may be Donald Trump’s only success story

In the cold and grey Washington, the news cycle has been eternally hot lately. The fire refuses to simmer down. The breathtaking pace at which events occur makes it tough to keep up with the war of words from the movers and shakers in a town where, post November 9, 2016, things have been constantly on the edge. While it is safe to say that all politicians are born actors and blatant liars, Donald Trump’s White House has legitimised the art of lying and given an official seal of approval to “alternative facts” – a term that essentially masks any untrue statement ...

Read Full Post