Muslims in America, Christians in Pakistan

Published: March 12, 2013
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What happened in Lahore is not political or religious terrorism, but simple bigotry and bullying. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ

I don’t know much of the specific background of the anti-Christian rampage last week in Lahore. But is there anything I don’t know that would mitigate or excuse it?

A major theme of my writing and public speaking is an insistence on distinguishing between what I call the Pakistan I know and love – a rich, diverse, fascinating smorgasbord of humanity – and the distorted, two-dimensional Pakistan that most Americans see on TV. But when what they see on TV is Muslim Pakistanis burning crosses in a Christian neighbourhood, it makes it even harder than usual for me and other friends of Pakistan to make a case.

It’s all too true that Pakistanis and other Muslims are unfairly stigmatised and victimised in America. But anyone who would point that out in this particular context, as any kind of excuse would be playing a shameful politics of distraction. As an American, I feel shamed by the ways that my society mistreats Muslims here. By exactly the same token, Pakistan and all Pakistanis are shamed by mistreatment of Christians in Pakistan.

What happened in Lahore is not political or religious terrorism, although surely it has the effect of terrorising Pakistani Christians, but simple bigotry and bullying. Pakistani Christians are not Americans or Westerners, and to mistreat them as if they were somehow responsible for America’s sins is the crudest and ugliest kind of scapegoating.

As every Pakistani knows darn well, Christians are among the most downtrodden and vulnerable people in Pakistan, especially since the passage of the despicable blasphemy law during the Ziaul Haq dictatorship. Furthermore, most Pakistani Christians are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Christian message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.

Islam had, and has, a very similar humanist and egalitarian appeal, which is why the persistence of essentially Hindu hierarchy and snobbishness is so jarring and distasteful when one encounters it in ostensibly Islamic Pakistan. I’m not a Muslim or any kind of expert on Islam, but I do know that if there’s anything Islam is supposed to be all about, it’s human dignity and equality.

The moral and political health of any society is expressed in how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Muslims, as members of a group against whom many Americans blithely and wrongly consider it excusable, or even admirable, to be bigoted, are among the most vulnerable people in America today.

Shame on my country for the way it treats Muslims.

I’ve written versions of this many times over the past several years, in contexts ranging from one disturbed young man’s failed attempt to bomb Times Square, to the loutish, disgusting celebrations (in Times Square) at the death of Osama bin Laden, to the cowardly and sinister use of drones. Some of my own friends and family have felt I’ve gone too far at times, particularly when I published articles titled “The Colorado Killer Is Not a Muslim” and “Newtown Is a Village in Pakistan”. I stand by those articles, against my own relatives, because I want to stand up for anyone who is mistreated or misunderstood.

In exactly the same spirit, I stand up for Pakistani Christians. Whenever I speak to Pakistani audiences in the US, someone invariably asks me some version of the question “Why Pakistan?” The question is on my mind these days, because it’s nearly ten years now since the publication of “Alive and Well in Pakistan, my book-length attempt to answer it. What’s ironic is that the most specific answer to the question of why I went to Pakistan in the first place in 1995 is that a 14-year-old Christian boy, Salamat Masih, and his uncle were enduring a trumped-up blasphemy trial that was making headlines internationally, and the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong wanted me to make some of those headlines. So I crossed the border at Wagah, showed up in Lahore and wrote about the trial, then proceeded to fall in love with Pakistan anyway.

I still love Pakistan, despite everything. That should not be surprising; I also love my own country, and my friends and family, despite their faults, as I trust them to love me despite mine. But sometimes it’s not easy to do.

This post originally appeared here.

Follow Ethan on Twitter @ethancasey

Ethan Casey

Ethan Casey

Author of "Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time", "Overtaken By Events: A Pakistan Road Trip" and "Bearing the Bruise: A Life Graced by Haiti" among other books, Ethan tweets as @EthanCasey

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sadia Khatri

    “Pakistani Christians are not Americans or Westerners, and to mistreat them as if they were somehow responsible for America’s sins is the crudest and ugliest kind of scapegoating.”

    How are you assuming that any of these conflicts are statements against Westerners? This is not about America’s sins, this is a much deeper issue, rooted entirely in national politics. Audiences who don’t understand Pakistani dynamics are going to read your article and leave with zero understanding of what’s going on, and further hatred for Pakistan. For a country you claim to love and understand, you’re not helping.Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Overall, I appreciate the message the writer is trying to convey. Burning over 100 homes of Christians in Lahore, just for the alleged blasphemy of one christian man is by all means horrific, similarly the protests by Christians in Zainab Market Karachi and destruction of property is also horrific. On the same token, bigotry against muslims in America is also horrific. I would urge Americans to distinguish between Islam and Pakistan. They are poles apart. Also Pakistanis living abroad in America or the west are not the ones (nor their relatives in Pakistan) who are involved in these horrific crimes against Christians. The main issue of Pakistan is illiteracy and anger among the common masses. This is down to government failure, who did not invest in strengthening education and law and order in Pakistan. However Americans are largely educated people and their behaviour against muslims is purely due to bias and bigotry, which may well have been fuelled by their media and the powerful anti islam lobbies. Recommend

  • http://UK Saleem

    There is no comparison between how minorities are treated in land of pure and treatment of muslims in the USA. Dear author have you heard about the genocide of Shias and Ahmadis. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Your heart is in the right place but your understanding and explanation of the problem needs to be worked on.

    You have not stressed enough on the political / criminal aspect : Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi culture being used under the guise of religion mixed with criminal elements to further a political agenda simply to gain control and power. America becomes ‘ collateral damage ‘ in this as it is seen as Saudi Arabia’s mai-bap (godfather)…………and then again there are wheels within wheels. Recommend

  • tman

    Thanks for your beautiful article. If the world was full of more people like you , then we would have a lot less problems in Pakistan and abroad ! I hope and pray that people realize the dark hole in which this country is falling in and we collectively make the effort to pull ourselves out before its too late. Recommend

  • http://www.dalskistone.com Gregory

    Dear author
    Looks to me that you don’t know what you talking about..Could you please do little bit of research about history of of minorities massacres in PakistanRecommend

  • Hasan

    You know whatever the reasons the mob had, it doesn’t matter. Lets call a spade, a spade. This was beyond just wrong, it was not even barbaric, it was so disgustingly pathetic that we need to coin a new term to describe their actions!

    As for the people who did this? To call them animals would be a gross injustice to the rest of the animal kingdom. No, it is only humans who are capable of something so macabre.
    It is so extremely shameful to tell people what my nationality is, after such horrific events!Recommend

  • Sher Ghazi

    We are bulk of people not a nation. If some one want to use us then he can easily use us like tissue paper. Especially with the help of loud speaker which is use for Azaaan and Prayers in Mosques, But some time these loudspeakers are use for personal interests and profits to gain power or land. I just say sorry for Minorities. Must try to migrate from this country and save your next generation from extremism. Recommend

  • Zeenia

    We need more people like u in the world.Recommend

  • Syed

    Dear Gregory,

    Minorities have suffered in Pakistan, no doubt, and I am not trying to cover it up. But did you ever check the state of minorities in other countries ?? in India , China, Myanmar where they have to impose weeks long curfews in wake of religious persecutions! Looks to me that you are a person who believe only on what comes on CNN and fox, and when presented with other side of picture, you close your eyes.Recommend

  • socko

    By the comparison you draw between the mistreatment of muslims in America & Christians and other minorities being treated in Pakistan

    There is no comparison between minorities treatment in USA and Pakistan. Recommend

  • socko

    By the comparison you draw between the mistreatment of muslims in America & Christians and other minorities being treated in Pakistan, you indirectly motivate the Americans to abuse muslims physically and burn their properties, eventually snatching the land.

    There is no comparison between minorities treatment in USA and Pakistan. Constitutionally, America gives equal rights to minorities (Muslims included)… While in Pakistan, minorities do not even have basic right as the right to vote… I suggest, you please reconsider your view. Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Though you are comparing the sufferings of muslims in USA and minorities in Pakistan, I fail to understand why
    1. Pakistanis will queue up the American/WEstern embassies for visa of all types,. Student/Asylum/Green card etc etc
    2. No American/European/Chinese/JApanese and Indian will want to migrate/visit PAkistan besides its security and economic reasons
    unless there are some genuine reasons .

    It is the degree of suffering and legal entitlements of the minorities that matter. Pakistan fails miserably on these counts compared to any country in the world in terms of treatment of its minorities..Recommend

  • socko

    @Syed

    “But did you ever check the state of
    minorities in other countries ?? in
    India , China, Myanmar where they have
    to impose weeks long curfews in wake
    of religious persecutions! ”

    Mr Syed, Please visit India to have a first hand view on the minorities’ treatment in one of the most diverse culture in a country called India… Recommend

  • Secular pakistani

    This was a good, well-balanced blog.

    I believe Pakistan needs to do more to protect minorities and women

    Recommend

  • http://www.dalskistone.com gregory

    I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have been in Pakistan and India too.Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii

    @author
    your thinking is one dimensional. That is why this wrong article and wrong analysis.
    you are comparing people who have accepted that THERE LAND IS FOR MUSLIMS FIRST.
    with the People who do not do that even for christian majority.
    Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    Can not agreed more, true, facts, and highly realistic approach. We should differnciate that it is not a country or a faith to be blamed, it is the approach, the mind set, it can be anywhere, no matter it is Pakistan, or USA. But, it has to be condemned, and we should start thinking about its remedy.Recommend

  • Nitish

    @author:Furthermore, most Pakistani Christians are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Christian message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.
    Irony is what that these low caste untouchable hindus r ruling India while low cast converted hindus r worst sufferer in the subcontinent.We can have 1000s of castes and 100s of ethnicity in india living side by side but never heard of clashes b/w them.That speaks about that socio-religious system.Some religions have hardly one or two sects yet they cant cope up within themselves.Culture is a big factor which overpower the religion.Hinduism is the best fit case for our side of the world…
    @moderator:This is politely written .Kindly shot down previous one as it was put in the harsh way.Publish it asap….Recommend

  • Omer

    Repeal blasphemy lawRecommend

  • Insaan

    @I am a Khan: I would urge Americans to distinguish between Islam and Pakistan. They are poles apart.

    Islam is a way of life. How Muslims live in Muslim majority countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan is true reflection of Islam?Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “I stand by those articles, against my own relatives, because I want to stand up for anyone who is mistreated or misunderstood.”

    Blasphemy was used as an excuse to destroy homes of 100 Christians in Pakistan. You are not standing up for Pakistani Christians, you are in some way trying to show Muslims in US are suffering too, which is nonsense.Recommend

  • Sidrah

    @Syed
    So minorities massacre in this country somehow makes it okay for Pakistanis to torture their own countrymen? If you are such a principled man than you must also not be bothered by things like load shedding in Pakistan since 10 times more load shedding happens in Africa and Bhutan Nepal etc.
    @author
    The attack was not about America or UK. Although I agree that some Pakistanis WRONGLY believe that by somehow harming Pakistani Christians they will affect the west or by harming Hindu’s they will affect India. If anyone disagrees they should watch Hamid Mir’s show on Rimshah Masih and listen to the molvi sahab in it.

    BUT this has got very little to do with that. The fact is that a lot of people in Pakistan have no tolerance,no respect for others. They consider themselves to be superior and correct and others as inferior. I assure you that once there are no christians left; the people in the mob will turn on each other.
    Just look at Pakistan’s history. We are a nation obsessed with homogeneity. We want everyone to look the same, talk the same, have the same religion, eat the same food etc. If anyone is different they become a danger to us.
    This certainly wasn’t the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam wanted to make.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Gregory:

    This is wht the author is trying to expalin in his article and you made it easier by setting an example…..Recommend

  • Raj

    Such narrow understanding of issues and depthless article actually harms your favourite country even if you have good intent. In some ways an article written by Mullah is relatively better than yours(not better in original sense but relative sense) because even though it is poisonous and polarizes people it makes it objectives pretty clear. Your article on the other hand confuses those who are on the middle ground and gives them a false sense of hope and justification about what’s happening in Pakistan by comparing it with minor incidents in other countries. So basically you are saying that 25% anomalies in the Pakistani system is equal to 5% anomalies in other countries which is simply ridiculous. No society is perfect and there will be biases and oppression from one section of the society on the other, but the extent of what happens in Pakistan probably ranks right after the tribal military conflict of some African regions.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    Dear Author,

    I am very moved my your article….wht I like is that, rather than pointing fingers you want to come forward and bridge the difference between nations/religion.
    Every country/culture has its black sides, and the problem is that every one is ready to point rather than accept their mistakes. Burry the hatches and move forward in harmony is not that easy as it sounds.
    You can read above comments where hatred towards Pakistan or hatred towards USA can be seen. Both the sides arguing about the mistakes of others.
    People like you who will come forward and deal every one indiviually are required in the world for it to survive.
    …Hopefully there are more people like you in this globe who will stand together with the victims rahter than his/her religion. We can make a better world….Hope you live prosper and keep loving Pakistan.

    RegardsRecommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Insaan:

    AGAIN…Author is trying to show his feeling towards HUMANS not CHRISTIAN OR MUSLIMS…..he is tryin to expalin that wht Pakistan did is wrong and shold have not happend and is ready to accept the fact wht his country has done is also not right….
    He is not pointing fingers and abusing rather, tryin to bring the communities together and not isolate them.

    This message wht the Author wants to spread is not an easy one…..Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @socko:

    yeah rite…again we will have a debate now HOW GUD INDIA IS or any other country….

    You still dont get the article im pretty sure….

    This time i will spare the debate and dont want to ruin the writers message…Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @vasan:

    to be honest not many Europeans want to visit India…until they just have to or through NGO’s…any case lame commentRecommend

  • Humble Muslim

    We tend to always show our disaproval when we perceive that people have misbehaved. For example we all condemn the way some so called muslims have murdered the shias in Karachi or the christians in Lahore. We also appropriately condemn the violent way the christians have protested against their persecutors and the Government that enables it to happen.

    But I have never hard any words of praise when the Ahmadi Muslims buried their 100 murdered community members after the Government sponsored their murder on the 28th of May 2010. There ware no protests, no dharna, no altercation with the so called law enforcing agencies.

    It is better to praise the best of a society instead or complaining about the mischief mongers.Recommend

  • socko

    @Shah (Berlin)

    I was just pointing out to Mr Syed (@syed) on his statement on the condition of minorities in India. With ref to your posts in the past, I feel it will be a waste of time to discuss abt the conditions of minorities in India.. According to my opinion, you reject reasoning most of the times and have bigoted world view.

    As I said before, I would advise the same as I did with @Syed. Why dont you come to India and have a first hand look at how good or bad minorities are treated in India, a country with one of the most diverse cultures in the world?Recommend

  • antony

    @Shah(at kaffir Berlin) You dont need to spout your ignorance about India from afar .As an Indian christian who leads a respectable life attending churches and leading a peaceful life among the hindu neighbhourhood I can attest to the fact that Hindus are very tolerant people . Forget about reservation for minority , my father in law is in RAW and my cousins both in airforce at wing commander level and all because of merit and no partiality to religious affliation.Recommend

  • abhi

    @author
    You are true supporter of Pakistan, God bless you.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Shah (Berlin) > Lamer reply Mr Shah. I dont think you got my point. In comparing Muslims in America and Minorities in Pakistan, my question is if people in Pakistan want to migrate out and People from outside do not want to migrate to Pakistan, then the comparison of sufferings of minorities as described by the author does not hold water. India does not come into the picture at all. But still it is not out of place to point out that many of Pakistani hindus would like to and have migrated to India because of their sufferings like forced conversion etc and vice verse ie Muslims migrating from India to Pakistan does not happen. You draw your own conclusions, if u can.Recommend

  • http://tribune irtiza nadeem

    im pakistani.and you have got to be kidding me!
    sir,i sympathize with your article but gimme a break! minorities in pakistan and america?seriously?
    i think you fail to distinguish between discrimination and persecution.and yes my country needs to be ashamed for being too afraid to stand up and walk with our christians of pakistan.just as i know americans do when a figure even smears muslims or palestinians.
    the education department needs to include non muslim contributers in our history books.why the hindus and others chose to stay than leave.who sided with us.not this muslim vs them propaganda by the clerics.and the clerics need to be censored in their mosques from spewing hate too!Recommend

  • CC

    Dear Ethan. Your article appears to be trying to build bridges with Pakistanis. However, you are effectively engaging in apologetics for Pakistan’s inhuman treatment of its minorities. I think what you are doing is naive and irresponsible because your words will encourage further inhuman treatment of minorities in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Naz

    @Shah (Berlin):

    I think we should not be bothereed if not many Europens want/dont want to visit India… As Shah ( berlin) writes… Lets stop this sour grapes story…….

    At any time .. someone will make it to India as its a safer place.. for tourist…. beyond that nothing. I think, we should spend our energies to build a strong market and make them come here looking for opportunities……..

    Kingdoms have sprung from Indian sub-continent… spreading from Afganistan to Myanmar… and many have disappeared… India lives on….. India is not defineid by a boundary ( in strict politicla terms) or a single religion or a single culture….. The only reason it survived and gets redefined is hte PLURALITY……..DIVERSITY and the UNITY in DIversity it brings about …..Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @socko:

    yaar I have Indians living with me…working with me…offcourse India is not a total disaster and in the respect Pakistan is also not…i have heard a lot of stories directly from MOUTH OF INDIAN minorities…..when a mob of SHEV sina will come You wont be able to save this Pakistani (me if im living there)….

    and thts my point….India, Pakistan or USA…we all hve good and bad people……..if we all think about ACCEPTING other cultures and accepting others and stop SHOWING OFF that we are better, trust me world will change…

    and the same point the Author is trying to convey……to accept and move forward and stop pointing on others and stop making some one else pay the price of some one else mistake….

    I HOPE IT WAS NOT THT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND……Recommend

  • Solomon2 (for Cloaked Vessel)

    This column makes little sense.
    If you want to equate America’s so-called mistreatment of American Muslims with the grave injustices that Christians in Pakistan have to endure, then you’re misleading the readers.
    Neither the severity, nor the prevalent persecution of Muslims in America is even remotely similar to that of Pakistan. You’re talking about a whole new playing field.
    Yes, there might be some discrimination, there might be some vilification of Muslims by right wing-media, but abundantly there are other media that would just as easily portray a different picture of Muslims, there are far more Americans that do no discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims.
    The US constitution grants every citizen, Muslim or otherwise, every right to freely exercise their religion. Its societal values guarantees that almost every Muslim can lead a secure and normal life, not hindered by others.
    If Muslims feel they have been wronged in anyway, they can go to the authorities for help.
    What does Pakistan on the other hand stand for?
    Christians are marginalized and are living on the fringes of society. They are discriminated for jobs, most of them can only get a job as a cleaner. They are despised and are often spoken with contempt. Christians girls get kidnapped and forcefully converted. When a Christian girl is raped, the perpetrator can just walk alongside the police station and not get arrested. Christians can’t freely proclaim to be Christian, as a fellow countryman could be offended, which can result in a death sentence or a mob execution. Christian and other minority children at school are forced to learn Islamic teachings. Cooked up blasphemy charges against Christians result in widespread destruction of private property and the deaths of many. Minorities can be attacked at will, when someone wants to blow off some ‘religious’ steam.

    When was the last time you heard of a case where 3000 American bigots marched into a Muslim neighborhood, destroying hundreds of houses and shops, plundering the few possessions of the American Muslim citizens, and getting away with it, while the American police forces were standing by and doing nothing?Recommend

  • amir jafri

    Thank you very much..Persecution of Muslims in the western countries is systemic…in Pakistan they are incidental…Hue and cry raised by the west when their friends in Pakistan get hurt is deafening. The support the liberaloons, secularoon and the murtadoons get in from of asylums and grants is not secret..in fact they gloat and toot about it.

    Pakistan and muslims need ed-colonisation and declawing from the west ..like Iran China venezuela, brazil and 100s of other self-repecting and west-kicking nations.Recommend

  • mani

    @Nitish: Come on. There is no excuse for burning houses and we as nation must feel ashamed of it but we also know the caste fights going for centuries in India. Even modern and educated India is not free of it. Will brahamins and other high caste allow their kins to marry or mix with lower ones? A low caste father feel appear in media as proud father because his son under police survelliance allowed to sit on horse on his wedding day Recommend

  • Tera

    Ethan,

    Not sure if you actually live in USA or not.

    I live here and not being white, I totally disagree with what you say about mistreatment of Muslims here.Recommend

  • ashok

    @Author, “Furthermore, most Pakistani Christians are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Christian message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.

    Furthermore, most Pakistani Muslims are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Islamic message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.

    Has the lot of converted beings changed a bit since converting from a peaceful (relatively) nonviolent Buddhist or Hindu since 7th century to Islam or to Christians since 16th century?

    What is the difference between defining someone “subhuman” and “Kafir”, assuming your are correct that Hindus defined some sections as subhuman? Christian, mostly, are still scavanging and cleaning the human waste in Pakistan
    Hinduism does not preach elimination of any living being from the society unlike some religion. Buddhism was not spread through out East through sword.

    Both of these religion have over the course of history have demonstrated ample examples of universal brotherhood, which continues even today.Recommend

  • ashok

    @Author

    Are you an expert on Hinduism?

    If No, then why do you have to malign Hinduism to make Islam and Christianity look better.

    If Yes, Please enlighten us what you know about Hinduism in your next articleRecommend

  • Genesis

    @I am a Khan:
    And pray how many Muslim localities or homes have been burned in USA?Recommend

  • Genesis

    Furthermore, most Pakistani Christians are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Christian message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.
    Are you implying that all upper castes converted it Islam and the lower castes to Christianity? Both are suuposed ot offer equlity beofre god.Recommend

  • observer

    @Ethan Casey

    Shame on my country for the way it treats Muslims.

    OK. So how many were blown up , Quetta and Karachi style in America in the recent days.

    And did you count the number of houses burnt for ‘Blasphemy’. 1st amendment or not.Recommend

  • El Cid

    Your are true to Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’. Unfortunately the rest of the Bible…Paul abrogated him. Thank you for your concern and care. More power to you, your compassion for Pakistan. And your kind generous article.

    Also please know that on the same day a Muslim Mosque was also bombed, the prayer leader, Pesh Imam was killed along with six other Muslims, and 29 praying there seriously wounded, a number of Qur’an were burnt. No one noticed. No media hype.

    Also please note that no Christians have been killed. Their loss of property is more than being compensated and rebuilt. Muslims in the US have no reprieve. Millions are spent by the FBI to target and entrap them.

    That some ‘terrorists’ killed in fire fight with Pak Security forces had tattoos on them the like of which are common in the US special forces. Also forensic analysis confirms that the same weapons were used on both Shiaas and Sunnis. Thousands more Sunnis have been killed and their businesses burn then all the other groups combined.

    Clearly foreign agent-provocateurs are busy in Pakistan. The explosives they use can not be concocted in someone’s kitchen. Recommend

  • observer

    @Shah (Berlin):

    to be honest not many Europeans want to visit India…until they just have to or through NGO’s…any case lame comment

    India received 5.78 million tourists in 2010 of which UK accounted for 760 thousand, Germany 228 Thousand and France 225 thousand.Total European arrivals stood at 1.75 Milliom.
    http://tourism.gov.in/writereaddata/CMSPagePicture/file/Primary%20Content/MR/pub-OR-statistics/2010Statistics.pdf

    Compared to this, Total tourist arrival in Pakistan was 906 Thousand and all of Europe put together accounted for 288 thousand.
    http://www.pbs.gov.pk/sites/default/files/socialstatistics/publications/socialindicators_2011/tourism.pdf

    But then you have little use for facts.Recommend

  • http://versebyversequranstudycircle.wordpress.com/ Qur’an Study Circle

    A brilliant article Ethan, indeed America’s mistreatment shouldn’t be lashed out at innocent people. With so many controversial stories surrounding us people have lost their trust. This act is not restricted to bullying, but also displays what serious crises Pakistan is in at the moment. When there are power cuts we destroy public and private property to express our anguish. When a political leader or worker is killed we display the same behavior. When we lack the correct understanding of our deen we pick the minority.

    Thank you for considering Pakistan a lovely place to be in : )Recommend

  • Santosh

    @Shah (Berlin):
    Mr Shah, u know your statement is just pure BS.
    U know it in your heart. It is your spite that makes you spout such rubbish.
    I was recently in India, in one of its really small states, and there are western tourists everywhere….
    Of course u guys have your share of tourists in abundance. They all seem to come from the arab world and central asia, and appear to have a love for long beards and AKs.Recommend

  • Nitish

    @mani: Even modern and educated India is not free of it. Will brahamins and other high caste allow their kins to marry or mix with lower ones?
    Of course ,they will not coz they r from older generation and frankly our society still doesnt encourage intercaste marriage….Younger ones go for mix marriages against the wishes of their parents ..Talking about modern india…Many upper caste girls married lower caste guy and they r well protected under democratic system….The best parents do now is that they can expunge all the relationship with the girl but never heard that 100 lower caste people were killed bcoz one of them married a brahmin girl….Oh come on ,your comment doesnt make any sense here….
    caste fights going for centuries in India.
    Gone r those days.Even if it was there some century ago ,it was coz of illiteracy and narrow mindedness… Many reformist worked upon that and now our society is largely peaceful and well assimilated…..What i mean to say that hindus r tolerant and ready to accept the change unlike people from other religion who r religiously blind…
    A low caste father feel appear in media as proud father because his son under police survelliance allowed to sit on horse on his wedding day
    Perhaps you have no idea about ground reality in india.The scenario what you told is true for all the religion .Ask your brethren across the border,they will confirm you…Recommend

  • AK Murthy

    It pains me to read these so called white Americans travelling to Islamic countries and then proclaiming that America mistreats its minorities. Really? I am a Indian from India who has been here over 22 years in the USA. I have stayed in many states of USA and never once I have been mistreated. I have quite a few muslim friends and they have never been mistreated. If at all muslims are mistreated then it is because of them acting strangely. In America we need to follow the law of the land and even If you are mistreated then the law takes care of this.

    Please do not go to foreign lands and abuse this country. Yes we do have problems in America but It is better than other countries. Ask a minority muslim in USA whether they want to go back to their homeland or work hard and live the american dream. The answer is obvious. They want to stay here.Recommend

  • sensible

    I would to appreciate the writer for this wonderful piece. Keep writing.Recommend

  • Shazia Bangash

    The correct comparison is not in the treatment of moslems in contemporary America, but in how America treated its native American population and then treated/treats the black African slaves and their descendants.Recommend

  • http://www.ethancasey.com Ethan Casey

    @Shazia Bangash: I think I agree with you, Shazia: your comparison is more directly apt than the one I made in my article. That said, I’ll also add that I’m surprised and a little disappointed that so many readers have focused on comparing the two countries. I mention mistreatment of Muslims in the US as a way of offering context – that I understand that Muslims are mistreated and misunderstood, in the US and other countries – but the real point of my article is simply that mistreatment of Christians in Pakistan is wrong, shameful, and dismaying. Period.

    Anyway, thanks again for your observant and thoughtful comment.Recommend

  • There is a difference between the Muslims in America and the Christians in Pakistan,

    The Muslims chose to migrate to America, in more instances than one, many have violated rules and regulations to enter the country and to live there. The Pakistani Christian were born in this land and can trace their ancestral links to the soil of Pakistan. They did not migrate to Pakistan unlike many Pakistani Muslims who never tire of claiming their Middle Eastern or Central Asian lineage..

    Pakistani Muslims always have the option to return to their land of origin but the Pakistani Christian have little or no option to move out of Pakistan,

    Therefore drawing an analogy between the two communities is simply out of question. .

    Has any Pakistani Muslim community ever been victimized or even threatened by frenzied mobs as has become the norm in Pakistan towards its minorities? Has any Pakistani Muslim girl been kidnapped and forcibly converted to Christianity?Recommend

  • sub

    Hi Ethan,
    I have read your blog as it was suggested by a friend. I am not gonna go through all responses but trying to write what is the actual cause of this.
    First of all, all these christians are Pakistanis, Neither Europeans, nor Americans, so this is no reaction against any of the western community. There is need for interfaith harmony, and this is the main point of all this shit happening. In recent years, this kind of stories are becoming very norm. There is zero tolerance against blasphemy in Pakistan as last year only just supporting a women victim, the Governor was killed in Islamabad. So tying this together to what America is doing to Muslims does not seem justifying.
    There is great dispair over drone attacks against America in Pakistani masses but this is a complete different scenario.
    Christianity is the second closest religion to islam having so many things in common. A Muslim cant be one if he/she does not believe in Prophethood of Jesus. So the only thing is respect.
    If we respect each other religions apart from out filthy politics, i think it will lead to good future and things will become normal as they were before.Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii

    @author, your response to Shazia,
    Again ur making the same mistake,
    you cannot context the behaviour of citizens ( which becomes directly behaviour of countries) , when the basic rules the citizens are following itself is divergent.
    Americans are inherently secular because they have there rules(constitution) like that,
    Pakistanis are inherently nonsecular as they have accepted there constitution and name as Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    So you just can’t , repeat can’t compare US and Pakistani citizens.
    Pakistani citizens can be compared only to those citizens who have accepted same rules.

    I think you should still make a more study and put more effort on knowing americans and pakistanis both.Recommend

  • SI

    @Ethan

    Great article Ethan as always.Recommend

  • Junaid Ranjha

    The so called blasphemy strikes in Pakistan has now been turned into money grabbing from each side’s clerics and blasphemous elements.

    The whole story invited more to violent for money, this was started from a notorious CIA operative Raymond Davis who killed two youngsters of Lahore. The money making game was however dominated by the aggrieved family(s). Then the master minds have adopted the business of easy money. It must be stopped immediately otherwise many incidents would be occurred in due course of time.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court of Pakistan should also refrain from take sou moto notices as in the rest of the world such kind of notice is not witnessed at all.Recommend

  • Nayla

    It’s INSANE to me to compare the situation of Muslims in America to the situation of Christians in Pakistan. There is NO comparison.Recommend

  • Sriram

    @Ethan Casey:
    “I mention mistreatment of Muslims in the US as a way of offering context”. . . . In the present context how Americans treat their minority cann’t be compared with the way Pakistanis have been treating their minorities. There is a great deal of difference btw a people disliking other people and people physically attacking others in a coordinated manner or organizing an arson. And in Pakistan minorities also suffer from state sponsored religious persecution as well. How can you compare the state of a much better American minorities to that of a seriously persecuted minorities of Pakistan. Hindus, Shias, Ahmedis, Christians are dying here Mr. Casey. Recommend

  • Syme

    I am in a foreign land and sometime I due to my poor understanding or communication skills, misquote the facts and figures. Here people are tolerant, they don’t start jumping that they know better than me, although they certainly know their country better than me. They try to read between the lines, they pick up the bits, polish them and politely correct me. The author started with a disclaimer. Try to encourage him. Your pedantic attitude will scare away a friend who still believes in you. Recommend

  • Quantum

    @Ethan Casey:

    I am a shia Muslim from USA. I have lived in this country for 18 years and not a single instance I have felt discriminated because of my faith. US constitution enshrines freedom of religion, everybody is free to worship as they see fit. I beg to disagree with your conclusion when it comes to treatment of minorities in US and Pakistan. Can you please tell me when in US in the last 40 years, Muslim properties were damaged by a unruly mob.

    Pakistan is a global security threat. They have everything going against them and they brought upon themselves. Christians and Hindus are barred from holding good job in Pakistan, it is not part of their constitution, but there is inherent bias from the majority towards minority.

    Please tell when in US a fundamentalist baptist Christian went and blew up a catholic church. You cannot cite a single example. But in pakistan regularly shia mosques are targeted by terrorist in the name of mainstream Sunni Islam. I gave you this analogy for you to ponder about minority situation in Pakistan. I would very much welcome a rejoinder from you with additional clarification.

    Thank you.Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Author
    Do you think that burning 150 homes while cops continue to watch is so mething that has ever happened in US with Muslims? You are simply establishing a false equivalence. If you want compare the treatment of Christians n Pakistan, then the place to look for is Pakistan itself and look at treatment of Shias in Pakistan, Ahmadiyas in Pakistan and Hindus in Pakistan. In case you are aware there are many rights that Pakistan withholds from non-Muslims including the right to vote for any candidate of their.choice?

    even if the way back when if the lower caste

    Fourthly even if the low caste people converted to Christianity 100s of years back, why do they continue to be at the bottom of the pyramid in the supposedly egalitarian Pakistan? In India our Air Chief and Defense minister are both Christian. Also if it was Hinduism that had kept them down, why did the conversion centuries back not uplift them?Recommend

  • Lateral Thinking

    @ Ethan Casey

    Unfortunately your writing reeks of inherent biases against Hindus. While you are free to think as you please, your journalism skills are clearly not objective & flawed and I think ET has made a gross error by publishing this article. Your thoughts clearly highlight your underlying desire to pander to a certain audience.

    For example the comment – “which is why the persistence of essentially Hindu hierarchy and snobbishness is so jarring and distasteful when one encounters it in ostensibly Islamic Pakistan”. I see no connection between your message (what I think it is) and this comment. I don’t get why Pakistani issues can only be discussed in context to issues in other regions. Is this to soften the blow on Pakistanis? Recommend

  • mind control

    @Shah (Berlin):

    to be honest not many Europeans want to visit India…

    My lips are sealed.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/520515/czech-women-tourists-kidnapped-in-balochistan-officials/Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Shazia Bangash: The correct comparison is not in the treatment of moslems in contemporary America, but in how America treated its native American population and then treated/treats the black African slaves and their descendants.

    For your kind information America has a black President. Christians are still treated like animals in Pakistan. Any Muslim who wants property owned by Christians can cry Blasphemy and take an Islamic mob to attack and terrorize Christians.

    How do you think your Hindu forefathers became Muslims?Recommend

  • Prerna

    Furthermore, most Pakistani Christians are descendants of low caste or “untouchable” Hindus who, quite understandably, saw the Christian message of universal brotherhood and equality before God as more appealing than a social-religious system that defined them as subhuman.

    Ah yes,that Christian message of universal brotherhood that de-humanised an entire race (the Africans),and almost wiped out the native populations of America and Australia because they were even less than sub-human.Recommend

  • cautious

    Rubbish – Pakistan just burned down 150 Christian houses, it’s SC suspects the local govt was complicit, and there is a history of blatant persecution of minorities. Comparing this to how Muslims are treated in America is pathetic pandering to anti American crowd. The realities are that Muslim’s migrate to America everyday – and once in they America stay – can’t say the same for Christians and Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sidvicious

    @Syed: Minorities suffering in Pakistan, as compared to China & India ????

    The Muslim population has grown exponentially faster than any other minority group in India. India is host to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile and has one of the oldest archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church. Whole swaths of regions are populated by minorities.

    China is home to thousands of minorities, including a very large Muslim population that lives in relative harmony, except Xinjiang Province which has separatist claims.

    Pakistan on the other hand, is a blood bath in slow motion for minority and majority alike. Sad, but deflecting does not change the reality. There has to be some soul searching and a general weaning away from your Saudi Wahabi overlords, who think you no better than pests. Recommend

  • Sidvicious

    @Author I am afraid 10 years of prancing about in Pakistan has brought you no closer to the realities of the people, the region, or the sub-continent. This hotel lobby reflection on a region is quite silly. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @vasan:
    Mate, it’s rare for people to migrate ANYWHERE outside of non-Western countries. You give a person a list with China India Pakistan Brazil etc etc and another with the US, Canada, Australia and a few western European (and maybe for some, Dubai) nations on it, which do you think they’ll pick (9 out of 10 times as opposed to 10 out of 10, for the sake of argument…)? I don’t see people standing in queue’s to go to any of the non-Western nations you mentioned so your statement doesn’t exactly hold up your intended implication. Cheers. Recommend

  • A woman

    @socko:
    I’m not mr. socko, but I have indeed been to India and what I saw wasn’t always pretty unfortunately! While India has advanced in regards to what their laws are on paper (constitution doesn’t discriminate against minorities and they are acknowledged as citizens with rights etc etc) they have a long way to go before the pedal hits the metal as far as their transition into a fully secular nation off of paper. But forget religious differences, the gap between men and women struck me harder than anything else. Tragic really, subcontinent does not lack greatness of people or talent or land and country, simply terrible governing coupled with a societal grasp of the ‘old’ too tight to fully accept the ‘new’ (secularism and equality of women and similar concepts). Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Nobody :
    You are missing my point. If minorities in Pakistan want to migrate out because they are hounded out and minorities in US do not want to migrate because they are not hounded out, what are we comparing, Apples and oranges ?? Just to highlight the minorities plight in Pakistan, I have said minority hindus want to migrate even to India, which is not as prosperous like any western country, minority ahmedis have mostly moved out leaving behind shias and sunnis to fight it out.Recommend

  • A woman

    @Ethan Casey

    I bet when you wrote this blog you weren’t expect the comment section to turn into a Pakistan vs. India battle were you? Lol, little tip, always expect it to. Even if you think people can’t get there, I promise, an Indian and a Pakistani can. Goes to show, 65+ years and the countries still haven’t grown up and stopped hating each other (oddly enough, ask an average person on the street and they won’t feel the same way; throw them together on a blog or any comment section and wow, fireworks, and not the good kind). I would laughingly predict North Korea/South Korea to become one nation and Israel and Palestine to become one (LOVING) nation before I ever expect Pak-Indos to mature past the ‘India vs. Pak in EVERYTHING’ mindset.

    Back to the point, your heart’s in the right place! However, as an American Pakistani, I can honestly say I’ve never ever for a second felt any form of discrimination. People have shown affection, interest and often curiosity if anything. That’s a hats off to secularism in a true form, not perfect by any means, but visible and recognizable as secularism, not just in theory. The situation in Pakistan is currently something to be ashamed of unfortunately. And many many other countries (while perhaps not to this degree) have stifling attitudes of racism and bigotry against people of minority faiths (whatever those faiths may be). Much as I hate to admit, it’s most visible in Muslim majority countries.

    But anyways, as I said, heart in the right place and I’m pleased you think so fondly of Pakistan, but it’s in desperate need of a makeover at the moment. Cheers. Recommend

  • bmniac

    One can forgive the author his ignorance Conversion of the low castes historically was both to Islam and Christianity. Conversion by force did happen too.
    it is not just Muslims but most dark skinned people are ill treated in the US but murder is rare. The murder and serious ill-treatment of non- Sunnis is indeed a matter of shame and anguish for a large number of Muslims themselves.
    The author may feel conscience-stricken but that is no excuse for invidious comparisons.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @A woman: but I have indeed been to India and what I saw wasn’t always pretty unfortunately! ……….. they have a long way to go before the pedal hits the metal as far as their transition into a fully secular nation off of paper.

    At least India is trying. All Ahmadis, Shias, Sunnis, Hindus, Christians get along with each other very well. No one is being forced to convert his/her religion.

    You can’t know India by visiting India for 2 weeks. Thousands of Indian girls come to UK and USA to work and study.

    Our neighbor constantly keeps sending terrorists to divide Indians.

    Why do you think 10 Pakistani terrorists pretending to be Hindus killed 40 Indian Muslims and 124 non-Muslims in Bombay on 26/11? Targets are carefully chosen to divide Indian Muslims and non-Muslims

    Watch this video on the Internet.

    An Indian muslim answer to Gen. Musharraf Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author: A major theme of my writing and public speaking is an insistence on distinguishing between what I call the Pakistan I know and love – a rich, diverse, fascinating smorgasbord of humanity – and the distorted, two-dimensional Pakistan that most Americans see on TV.

    Just like there is 2 kinds of Islam, the one Pakistani Muslims live by and one that exists in theoretical way.

    Are you after a Pakistani woman? Even most Pakistanis don’t see Pakistan as a rich, diverse, fascinating smorgasbord of humanity? Do talk to some Ahmadis or Shias or Baloch people when you get time?

    You are living in a different world and seeing a entirely different Pakistan that exists in realty.Recommend

  • Sadiq Khan

    @Sadia Khatri:
    I do understand the concerns and issues raised by Sadiag. However I would also like to point out that Pakistan is a country based on the foundation of a religious state for muslims. Islam is the dominant religion of Pakistan and Pakistan is an Islamic country. If other minorities are not going to respect the religion of Islam and make fun of our beloved Prophet (SAW) then this will lead to anger and resentment. Recommend

  • Samuel zia

    When something happen people compare it with other incidents.
    Like USA versus Pakistan versus China act.
    Always support it with good or bad.
    If somebody making mistake in USA why should com pair it in Pakistan Recommend

  • A woman

    @Insaan:
    Sure India is trying and I acknowledged that. Indian laws reflect a willingness to secularize. Pakistani laws haven’t caught up (or rather have become regressive after Zia, based on what I have read). But there’s still a long way before it’s free of all conflict based on religion alone. These things take time.
    And when did I say I came for 2 weeks? I never mentioned the length of my stay in India. And I simply explained what MY experience there was. Not always, but some of the time.
    As far as your neighbor being responsible for dividing, that’s a weak excuse. From where I sit, both nations blame each other for their problems. The solution is take responsibility for your own countries and stop concerning yourself with the other.
    I still think it’s tragic to see conflict within either nation when there is so much potential there. A proactive government is the first step in a solution. Hopefully, the people can make the right choice regarding who they elect to run their country. In my experience, MOST of the people (not all, but most) were not violent or hate mongering. They may not have always been highly educated but hatred was not embedded in their DNA and that means there is always hope. Recommend

  • Muslim

    And still, we call ourselves ‘Muslims’! The followers of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and advertise that our religion is actually the ‘religion of peace’.

    Please take word of the whole world against 180 million people and you’ll know that Pakistan has not exported anything to the world apart from terrorism and gross injustice to the minorities.

    We need some serious reforms in our country. May I please stress on the fact that being a good muslim and being a good human being goes in the same line. Recommend

  • Burjor

    Forget Pakistan, forget America, do the readers above know how Pakistani’s are treated in the”brotherly” country of Saudi Arabia. Can any reader say with any degree of authority how many Pakistani’s have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia? Why compare a far away country like America. How many Pakistani’s have a Saudi Arabian spouse. Now how many Pakistani’s have American spouse. We in Pakistan live in a very very myopic world, we do not wish to know the uncomfortable truth about ourselves, about other people, about other nations. Many Pakistani’s like to believe their ancestors were Arabs, and would want others to believe the same. This is the degree that they have been indoctrinated. Yesterday Pakistan celebrated Pakistan Day, how many readers would be proud to accept the simple fact that Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s ancestors were Hindus, how many readers would be proud to know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s forefathers were also Hindus. Not even perhaps one. This is where we stand. Get out of this mind set, see things and accept things, do not make believe. Recommend