Stories published in March, 2017

I am a Muslim parent in the US and I chose to send my children to a Catholic school

My wonderful nani (maternal grandmother), Jamila Khatoon, was an advocate for missionary schools and hospitals in Pakistan. She would famously say, “Schools and hospitals are best run by the mission.” Resultantly, my mother and her siblings went to missionary schools in Karachi, as did my siblings and I. Why is it that parents, belonging to other faiths, sometimes consciously make a choice to send their kids to a Catholic school? Is it because they feel that faith-based education, regardless of what faith the school believes in, imparts spirituality at a young age that leaves an impact through adult life? I remember putting the ...

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Moonlight is cinematic poetry

Issues of identity, sexuality and masculinity have always been fascinating subjects in cinema, but rarely have they ever been explored with such beauty, mastery and eloquence as they are with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. A film that simultaneously feels both grand and intimate and a film that leaves a lasting impact on you, whether it is through its subtle, fleeting touches or it’s vibrant, vivid images. Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight (2016)Photo: IMDb From the first frame to the last, Moonlight is a balancing act that never falters. It introspects the life of Chiron, a young African-American boy in Miami, through three ...

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As a young British Muslim, I’ve been told to stay away from Google – why do I feel like a terrorist?

A few days ago, a German school announced that it had banned Muslim students from using prayer mats in order to stop them from displaying their religion “in a provocative manner”. I read this with a sad sense of familiarity; it reminds me of the sense of fear and anxiety that I myself feel as a young British Muslim in 2017. On a day-to-day basis, I am hyperconscious about where I am sitting in a café or a park, when I do my daily Quran reading — who around me might see the Arabic writing on my laptop screen or mobile phone app and feel threatened ...

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The best way to backpack in Pakistan, through the eyes of a foreigner

Backpacking in Pakistan is a one of a kind adventure; this is a country which will raise many an eyebrow and steal many a heart. The only danger with backpacking in Pakistan is not wanting to leave. Before I went backpacking in Pakistan, I was unsure what to expect. Pakistan travel advice from my government is basically one gigantic red X. The media has painted the country in an unfortunate light, a fact most Pakistanis are painfully aware of. Wherever I went, I was greeted by friendly faces and incredibly helpful people. Combine that with relatively cheap travel costs, plentiful treks ...

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Hosting the PSL final in Lahore is a bad idea

After continuous hype and controversy, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has finally given the go-ahead to hosting the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore on March 5th. Following the announcement, many international players have decided not to participate if their team reaches the final. Adding to that, the famous panel of international commentators headed by the likes of Danny Morrison and Ian Bishop are also not traveling to Pakistan with the rest of the crew. So the real question that still remains unanswered is, is hosting the final in Lahore really worth it? Here are three reasons why the ...

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Congratulations Asghar Farhadi for winning an Oscar and for boycotting the event

Forty four-year-old Iranian veteran director, Asghar Farhadi boycotted his visit to the Annual Academy Awards where he won the award for ‘Best Picture in a Foreign Language’. His film, The Salesman, won in this category and Farhadi chose two accomplished Iranian-Americans to accept the award on his behalf.  His film’s leading actress, Taraneh Alidoosti, also boycotted the ceremony in light of Trump’s recent visa ban. Farhadi’s boycott comes at a time when the world stares at American borders in askance and confusion. A Syrian cameraman and rescue worker were unable to attend the ceremony because the Syrian government cancelled their passports. Trump’s visa ban, now jammed in federal court, ...

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Denzel Washington versus Casey Affleck: And the Oscar goes to… No!

You win some, you lose some. But there are some losses that hurt more than most. Ask Denzel Washington for instance, who had a really hard time accepting his defeat at the recent Oscars. Washington’s displeasure was pretty evident on hearing Casey Affleck’s name being announced as ‘Best Actor’, but an awkward smile was just the start. From then on, it went from bad to worse.  When the Manchester by the Sea star got on stage to give his acceptance speech for his first Oscar, the two-time Academy Award winner was unable to erase the scowl from his face. Washington then concluded his show of anger by shaking his head from ...

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