Stories published in April, 2016

Are Muslim refugees destined for a life of sex slavery?

“Listen lady, if you don’t want to be whisked away to a brothel in Brussels and your three girls trafficked into pedophile rings or have their organs removed, please go back to Pakistan. Stop trying to make your way into Europe.” These were the words of British aid worker Sajad Shah to a Pakistani mother with three very young daughters. The woman was seeking asylum in Germany, along with thousands of Syrians and Iraqi refugees, after claiming she was being persecuted as a Christian in her home country. The founder of the charity Love for Humanity, Sajad Shah has been helping in ...

Read Full Post

It’s about time we talk about suicide

A few months ago, I received a frantic phone call from a friend. He told me his 11-year-old son tried to hang himself. This was not the first time; he had made similar attempts in the past, and also had a history of harming himself. Luckily, the parents had intervened just in time and saved him before it was too late. The father consulted me over the phone – he was broken, and was desperately in search of an answer. He wanted to devise a plan of action that could save his child from further attempts. After many possible interventions, we drafted ...

Read Full Post

This word can get me thrown off planes and land me in jail

I identify as a Muslim in America. And it’s not always easy. Recently, my home country has seen a rise in Islamophobia. Thanks to right-wing political players like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the fear of Muslims being nurtured over the last decade has now entered the mainstream. We have seen our community centres vandalised, Hijabi women assaulted, Muslim boys bullied at school etc. The latest and probably most bizarre episode of Islamophobia reported in the media is of an Arab-speaking college student thrown off a plane for saying Insha’Allah. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi – a 26-year-old Iraqi refugee – was reportedly having a phone conversation with his uncle in Baghdad, when a woman who understood Arabic thought she heard him ...

Read Full Post

The Huntsman: Winter’s War – A grim tale rather than a Grimm’s Fairy Tale

“Mirror mirror on the wall, Who is the lousiest of them all?” Once upon a time, in a land of pointless sequels, lousy executives from Universal Studios thought it was a good idea to make a franchise out of the 2012 sorta-kinda-maybe-a-hit Snow White and the Huntsman. Since Hollywood generally considers its audience as fools, a rotten concoction was brewed up where a pinch of Game of Thrones was drizzled on to the main ingredient of Frozen and blended with Lord of The Rings. But like too many cooks, inspiration from an assortment of movies totally spoiled the broth that is The Huntsman: Winter’s War It is both a sequel and ...

Read Full Post

Some wounds only death can heal

I remember it very vividly; I had driven down in my 99 Honda Civic which was a hand-me-down from my dad. The weather was surprisingly brisk considering fall had shot shades of winter in its early days. I walked up to my uncle’s door and found it unlocked, as always, and announced my entrance to the house. Silence was scattered around the house. All I could hear was the dishwasher running in the kitchen. I followed my usual trail up to the top level and towards my grandfather’s room. After three knocks and a slight nudge at the door, I ...

Read Full Post

If you love chocolate chip brownies, this is the recipe for you

With Ramazan coming up, I typically like to have some friends over for Iftar. I always have to make lasagna for these friends on special request. They’ve been on my case to make lasagna for them again this year. But so far, I’ve been useless in getting down to making it. I guess it is time to do so now. Anyway, this is totally off at a tangent, I’m not talking about lasagna here, I’m meant to be talking about brownies. So back to the brownies. I needed a dessert – something nice and simple that was also easy to pick up and eat. I love ...

Read Full Post

The horrors of China’s one-child policy

China’s famous one-child policy was meant to be used as a mechanism to control a heaving population, even though it drew much criticism for the draconian method in which it was enforced. Add to the mix a cultural reliance on men being breadwinners and women being a burden on families and, soon enough, a gender imbalance of grotesque proportions started to emerge.The overly populated male population led to the relaxing of the rules by the Chinese government which now allows two children per couple. However, this hasn’t alleviated the problems being faced by a large, male population. There are reports of whole villages being populated by men and women ...

Read Full Post

Chotu, not so Chota anymore

I really like these Robin Hood types of stories, not that I agree with them or condone the modus operandi or anything. Just enjoy them. Something about taking from the filthy rich fills me with ecstasy, more or less, as it would any other poor man. Anyway, if people were wondering who Chotu is, please beware – he is not Robin Hood. Chotu is (now) a wanted dacoit, just put behind bars by the Pakistan Army. Since they are cleaning house after General Raheel Sharif’s stand on accountability, one might as well expect the army to get rid of former police ...

Read Full Post

Punching like a girl: Boxing no longer a sport just for men

Being a dedicated fan of the sport for years, the growth and development of boxing in Pakistan always brings me immense joy. So, when I woke up one morning and switched my laptop on for my daily dose of news, I was absolutely buzzed when I stumbled upon the headline,  ‘Boxing is in our blood: Pakistani girls fighting for better life through sport.’ A boxing club in Lyari has now started girls-only classes and is competing in local tournaments! Ever since female amateur boxing was included in the Olympics, women’s boxing has been in the spotlight. Nicola Adams from the United Kingdom and Katie Taylor from the Republic ...

Read Full Post

How to break a girl in 10 steps

Follow these 10 steps and watch a girl shrivel in front of your eyes until she becomes a walking womb that also makes your meals. 1) Make her realise she is a burden from the moment she is born. Sigh loudly when births of girls are announced. When they are a little older, let them see how you celebrate when boys are born and how the grandmother’s face contorts if the family is burdened with another baby girl instead. Make it absolutely clear that they are no cause for celebration. 2) Be very blatant in your favouring of boys over girls. Ask ...

Read Full Post