Areeba Kamal

An alumna and former employee of Nixor College. She is currently studying International Relations and Computer Science at Mount Holyoke, USA. She tweets @KamalAreeba

Where does anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic hate speech overlap?

The first session of the sixth annual Muslim-Jewish Conference (MJC) began with the following announcement: “Everyone separate into two categories of groups. Muslims sit with Muslims and Jews sit with Jews. Let’s write down stereotypes that you think people hold about your religious identity.” It didn’t take long for the stereotypes to roll in. The Muslims jotted them down rather quickly. We’ve all heard them countless times and they’ve been stitched into our consciousness. Words such as terrorist, judgmental, and oppressed were penned down. The Jews were quick to word out the stereotypes as well – wealthy, conniving, and greedy. A Jewish New Yorker ...

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Be pro-Gaza, not anti-Jew

Repeat after me: “All Jews are not extremists.” “All Jews do not hate Palestine.” “All Jews do not want to eradicate Muslim identity.” Each “Jew joke” you share with your Whatsapp friends’ group insults the religious sentiments of at least 13,854,800 people in the world. Each ‘gas-the-Jews’ holocaust meme you forward reduces the inhuman slaughter of 11 million innocent people killed in one of the worst genocides in human history, to a derogatory laugh. The persecution of innocent people in Gaza is the direct result of a horrible territorial conflict. It has very little to do with the teachings of Judaism or Islam ...

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Aarushi Talwar: Turning murder into entertainment?

It took India’s top investigative agencies five years to figure out how 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was murdered in 2008. Then, instead of giving the public all the evidence present, they shaped Aarushi’s killing according to their whim and fancy. Crucial findings were discarded while other evidence was tampered and moulded to tell the world that Aarushi was a victim of honour killing by her incensed parents, who clubbed her to death on seeing her in a compromising position with the male domestic help. On the night of May 15, 2008 Aarushi and her household’s domestic help, Hemraj were violently murdered. ...

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Accepting domestic abuse as a part of daily life

As a Pakistani woman, I grew up understanding that the best guarantee of my life-long security is the promise of a man’s companionship. A man will back me financially, ward off awkward questions that will arise if I remain single too long and give me a ‘home’ to care for. A man will chaperone me to family gatherings, tell me how best to behave and transform me into ‘a complete woman’.  While this formula for security infuriated me on several levels, it is the things it left unsaid that horrified me the most. No one told me just how badly a ...

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September 9, 2013

Leaving for college but trying to fit ‘home’ into a suitcase

Every time I leave home, I have the urge to pack everything within sight. Accessories I will never use, dozens of Pakistan flags I will forget to put up, books I won’t get time to read, stray tokens of days spent at home so that I may relive them at will. However, this odd impulse isn’t nearly as exasperating as the reality that I can’t actually pack the things that matter the most, because they are intangible. My sister’s voice or the spark in her chatter; my mother’s worried frown when she thinks I’m overworked; long, honest conversations with old friends; the innate comfort ...

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Madiha’s unfinished ibaadat

“Why do you do this work, beti? What do you get out of going door to door telling suspicious families to vaccinate their noisy, crying kids?” Rukhsana bibi never understood why her daughter was so ready to give up her weekends for work that barely covered her bus fare. “Ma, sawab hai. If I can convince them to vaccinate their kids, it might save them so much grief later. Look at Bilquis apa next door. If someone had started this work of God earlier, she might be able to walk properly today, be as active as you or me. Plus, it makes me ...

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Abbottabad Commission Report: An apt summary of why we may be a “failed state”

Now that we know the details of how we harboured the world’s most wanted man for nearly a decade, before letting a foreign power invade our territory without being detected, let alone countered, the term “failed nation” has a deeper resonance for us. Osama Bin Laden entered Pakistan in 2002, and after loitering in Peshawar, Swat and Haripur, made a cozy, comfy, illegal home with his wives, children and grandchildren in Abbottabad. Here, he helped plot al Qaeda initiatives through electronic communication. Protected from arrest and tortured by the laughable incompetence of Pakistani law enforcement agencies, he encouraged his grandchildren ...

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Rimsha Masih: Another victim we failed to protect

Eight months ago, Rimsha Masih innocently told reporters: “I love Pakistan. I won’t ever leave my country.” Little did she know that after being accused of a crime she did not commit, under laws that were inherently in favour of her accuser, she will be forced to flee the country she held dear, despite how little it offered to non-Muslims like her. Today, Rimsha and her family have been forced to seek asylum in Canada. Rimsha was accused of burning pages of the Holy Quran by her neighbour, Khalid Jadoon in August 2012. She was detained in a maximum security prison for several ...

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Nelson Mandela: What one man’s vision can accomplish

Nelson Mandela (Madiba) is unarguably one of the greatest freedom fighters of our time. With official statements using stronger language everyday to report on his ailing health, it is a time for reflection for the global community as the fulfillment of several causes upheld by Mandela remains ambiguous. What is crystal clear, however, is Mandela’s everlasting influence on how the world will perceive equality, freedom and change for years to come “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  – Nelson Mandela Mandela joined the African National ...

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Pakistani with every fiber of my being

I hail from green and white – from a crescent and a star. I live under lights that do not dim, even with electricity loadshedding every day. I walk in slums and narrow streets. I travel across shahrahs and highways that lead up to the mountains. I cower from the sun, glaring down, staring down; I cower from heat waves — from warmth that can make you faint. I am in awe of the sea, the beautiful vast sea that drowned a boy I knew, with long, white, foamy waves that I watch merge with one another. I recognise five rivers that have ...

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