I left the US because of their hatred towards Muslims… this is my story

Published: February 1, 2014
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Everyday I would see hate stickers against Muslims at Harvard Medical School. PHOTO: AFP

I was born in 1982, in the beautiful American city of San Jose, California. A proud patriotic Muslim American, my dad would decorate our house with lights every Fourth of July.

Fast forward to the year 2001, when I got admitted to one of America’s top medical schools – the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving from San Jose was hard. I stayed in the dorm. Every morning, when I went to take a shower, I saw a sticker on one of the bathroom mirrors on my floor that said,

‘Whoever is a friend of the Muslims is a traitor of Christianity and of America’.

In the evenings, sometimes, I would go to the reading room to study. Right on the entrance door, I would find the same sticker. I saw similar messages written on public vans and buses and plastered on walls across Boston. I heard fiery speeches against Islam by Christian clerics in downtown Boston, some calling for my death.

I felt intimidated, unwelcomed and unaccepted.

I often wondered why there was not a single Christian student, out of the thousands at Harvard, who had the moral integrity to tear down the hate stickers on campus – hate stickers that openly attacked me for being Muslim.

Would Christ not preach universal love and peace?

What had happened to those who claimed to follow him?

I waited and waited for my five years at medical school but these stickers never came down.

Then, when I found out that a group of Christian students had forced the administration of Mt Sinai Medical School in New York to expel all 23 of its Muslim students from that medical school, and were threatening widespread violence, I forgot my own pain for a bit. At least I was still able to pursue my studies. These other students had lost their careers merely for having an identity.

Soon after, I also found out that Muslim engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were forbidden to eat in the university cafeteria and dorm kitchens. Christian student groups had complained that Muslim presence was making the food filthy and hurting the sentiment of ordinary Christians at MIT.

I forgot my pain once again. At least, I could still eat freely at Harvard.

The atmosphere of intimidation never grew calm. I had some Christian friends but most were friends as long as I did not express my religious views openly. Attacks on Muslims kept growing and discrimination against them had become an accepted norm. Even Muslim graves were attacked in cities across the US for polluting American soil. I still decided to stay in the US and help people in and around San Jose.

I continued to hope things would improve.

However, after a series of other targeted attacks on fellow Muslim doctors, I decided to leave the US in 2008. I could not take it anymore. I moved to Pakistan to pursue a career in cardiology. My friends ask me if I will ever return to the States. I think I will but not until the Christian clergy stops condemning me as ‘worthy of death’ and the American government stops jailing me for calling myself a Muslim openly and for professing my faith as I deem fit.

I miss the US a lot but I also love my new homeland. There are a few bigots here as well but I never have to worry about them. My friends come to my rescue before I know it. I am different but I am loved. I feel welcomed and accepted. I have the freedom to speak and profess my faith. Until my motherland is reformed, I shall stay in Pakistan God willing.

I am currently pursuing a degree in cardiology in Lahore and this is my story.

Key:

Pakistan = United States
United States = Pakistan
Harvard Medical School = King Edward Medical University
Mt Sinai Medical School = Punjab Medical College
MIT = University of Engineering and Technology (UET)
Christian = Other Muslims
Christianity = Islam
Christ = Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Muslims = Ahmadis
Boston = Lahore
Lahore = Boston
San Jose = Rabwah
New York = Faisalabad

kashif.chaudhry

Kashif Chaudhry

A graduate of King Edward Medical University, Lahore and Mt Sinai University Hospital in New York, Kashif is currently completing his Cardiology fellowship in Boston, USA. He writes for various American newspapers and Pakistani publications and blogs at the Huffington Post. His interests include medicine, human rights and interfaith dialogue. He tweets @KashifMD (twitter.com/KashifMD)

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

  • anonymous

    @Mehdi:
    Wrongly said. Its in the quran which is the final book and revelation to humanity from which we learned there is only one GOD ,the book mentions in so many different places that Mohammad(sallaho alaihi wassalam) is the last messenger of ALLAH swt and anyone who denies this denies the quran and whoever denies the quran denies ALLAH swtRecommend

  • Talha Jilani

    @Boston Wala:
    My friend, please kindly read THE KEY!Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @anonymous:

    Yes as a Shia Muslim, our kalma interpretation is bit different, once the prophethood ends, another god appointed office starts which is Imamate, which is the same continuation of relgious teaching. In that respect according to your interpretation I shouldn’t be Muslim. It’s fine with me if you think so :) I have been told by few in USA itself who are the scary kind of overtly pious Muslim. So please don’t patronize me with your religious dogma. Thank you.Recommend

  • Orthodox Liberal

    @Boston Wala:
    You obviously did not read the whole thing and it’s a pityRecommend

  • Sumit

    @Boston Wala:
    Sarcasm samajhte ho miyan? :PRecommend

  • Bin Ismail

    Six months after the birth of Pakistan, the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared :

    …Pakistan is NOT going to be a
    theocratic State – to be ruled by
    priests with a divine mission. We have
    many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians
    and Parsis – but they are ALL
    Pakistanis. They will enjoy the SAME
    rights and privileges as any other
    citizens…

    Sixty six years after independence – where does Pakistan stand today ?Recommend

  • Sen

    @Boston Wala: nobody read the key it seems. read people read !!!! till the end…..Recommend

  • Guest

    So the anti-Christian in Pakistan don’t bother you in the slightest?Recommend

  • Anonymous

    @Boston Wala:
    Read the key at the end.Recommend

  • Shees Muhammad Khan

    @Dua_Go This blog is a wonderful piece of satire/sarcasm. Just read author,s profile.Recommend

  • abdul malik

    @Annoynymous:

    Did you see the Key at the end.

    Key:

    Pakistan = United States
    United States = Pakistan
    Harvard Medical School = King Edward Medical University
    Mt Sinai Medical School = Punjab Medical College
    MIT = University of Engineering and Technology (UET)
    Christian = Other Muslims
    Christianity = Islam
    Christ = Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
    Muslims = Ahmadis
    Boston = Lahore
    Lahore = Boston
    San Jose = Rabwah
    New York = FaisalabadRecommend

  • abdul malik

    I am amazed to see the IQ level of Many people who replied.
    lol
    see the Key at the end before writing against the writer.Recommend

  • Qamar

    @Saad Ahmed:
    Read the key, brotherRecommend

  • ahmad

    very well written.
    but comments are a bit more interesting than the blog itself. nvmRecommend

  • unbelievable

    @Shah (Berlin):
    you totally missed the point of his comment (from med school in the US), and you think he has missed the point of the article,,,god help us!Recommend

  • Aha

    @CS:
    and you think that after reading this article, they will have the “aha” moment?Recommend

  • Princess

    People, STOP making assumptions and READ THE KEY!!!!! Honestly, such an interesting way to write about your experience. Love it.Recommend

  • Princess

    @hamza: lol he is talking about Pakistan…. so you know PK well! ;) Recommend

  • Breaking Bad

    People please stop beating the dead horse. Boston Wala already apologized for missing the keys and that is an honest mistake. You guys are doing the same thing…commenting without reading his apology. Loved the article by the way.Recommend

  • gp65

    @unbelievable: Read the kkey my friend – read the key. The event was not about a medical school in US but one in Pakistan.
    Recommend

  • Shafak D

    Very well written.. misinterpreted at first!Recommend

  • amit

    Dear Kashif,

    Before commenting kindly see the condition of all non muslims in pakistan. How muslim fanatics have made their life pathetic. For that matter just go to any Muslim country and see how pathetic is the condition of non muslims. Even in the so called progressive country like Malaysia Non muslims are B grade citizens.
    Recommend

  • Hibye

    @Annoynymous:
    Look at the key and click on the links. You’ll realise what the article really is about.Recommend

  • Imran Ali

    @Boston Wala:
    Dear, the key to understand this blog is to follow the key, given in the end……Recommend

  • observation

    half of the people are trying to explain to a large number of readers what the article is really about, some are trying to point out that writing this kind of satire in a country with very primitive population is counterproductive as it would just take the satire as reality and will never be able to understand the truth (as they cant handle the truth), and then some are so fascinated by the article that they cant even understand the criticism of the article and think that the person criticizing the article must have not seen the “key”.Recommend

  • Blue morpho

    Wonderful article sir i am impressed!Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    @Boston Wala: Did you not read the article? This wasn’t even hidden sarcasm. There’s a key at the end of the article.Recommend

  • afroze fatemah

    your pain is my pain.Recommend

  • binger

    welcome , welcome , welcome
    everybody says welcome welcome
    welcome welcome Recommend

  • jose

    Looks like he went back after all. A graduate of King Edward Medical University in Lahore and Mt Sinai University Hospital in New York who is currently completing his Cardiology fellowship at Tufts University in Boston, USA.Recommend

  • GIndian

    Lies, lies and more lies. Recommend

  • http://fieryfury.wordpress.com maheen

    Kashif this was a brilliant article, especially if someone actually bothered to pay attention to read the key! I love this new way of trying to shed light on an old issue, brilliant, absolutely brilliant!!! Too bad, you are sharing this with the same illiterate, blinded by hatred nation of laqeer ke faqeerRecommend

  • anonymous

    Great pieceRecommend

  • Ruth

    Wow – I see the key now…why didn’t he just say what he meant openly??Recommend

  • Nowigetit

    People read the article AND the key together! Recommend

  • Obaid

    And no one even bothered reading the key. lolRecommend

  • Eesha Lakhani

    Well written. Who are we to expect any justice from the world when this is the “justice” we mete out to the minorities in our own land? Recommend

  • observation

    @Ruth:

    because there is no scarcity of drama queens and kings in pakistanRecommend

  • Sadaf

    @Boston Wala: Please check out the key at the end! He is actually talking about Pakistan not USA :pRecommend

  • Nauman

    There was a short period of widespread backlash after 911 towards Muslims across N.America but the author is really exeggerating what he would have experienced. Muslims being a minority will always feel some degree of prejudice like how all minorities do in various societies are descriminated against in some way or form. Religion aside, majority of Islamic majority countries treat their citizens much worse than the US.Recommend

  • Fawad Faraz

    I strongly disagree with this post. It’s one man-opinion based only on his experience.
    US is a very diverse society and despite of the foreign policy every one in the country gets equal rights. They may be some instances of discrimination here and there but generally thats not the case.
    Freedom of religion is supported by the constitution. Count the number of masajid that are freely operating without any trouble. I can write so much about this but that may endup being longer than the original post. Recommend

  • guest

    @rewq:
    Seriously did u even check the key at the endRecommend

  • http://globallegalforum.blogspot.com Spade

    Geniuses… please read the key …. I am amazed at how dunce people are both in Pakistan and the US.

    Good job Kashif.

    Americans: He is exactly saying the opposite.

    Pakistanis: Shame on you. Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/omaidus Malik Omaid

    The more people criticize and condemn US after reading this article, more they shed light on their hypocritical behavior towards minorities particularly Ahmadis in Pakistan. Its like condemning our selves.Recommend

  • Muhammad Umer Shehzad

    @JayMankind:
    This is a satire. By “United States” he actually means “Pakistan”, and by “christians” he actually means “muslims”. Read his key :-)
    Very well written.Recommend

  • Muhammad Umer Shehzad

    @amit:
    dude check his “key” at the end. It is a flipped satire. By “christians” he actually means “muslims” and I agree with him.Recommend

  • Muhammad Umer Shehzad

    @Fawad Faraz:
    @amit:
    dude check his “key” at the end. It is a flipped satire. By “christians” he actually means “muslims” and I agree with him.Recommend

  • muhammad ali shahzaib

    @Lindsay Jenney: Hi, Please read the key at the end of the article. It will completely change the context. Though the author has used a different approach, but yes it is what happening in here (Pakistan).Recommend

  • muhammad ali shahzaib

    @amit: Hey buddy ! please read the Key at the end of the article. It ain’t about some Hindus, Christians or Jews. It’s about the people of Pakistan, people with some different believes than Muslims and sect. Yes, I may not agree with their believes or so, but a religiously biased treatment is insanity and totally inhumane.Recommend

  • Sid

    @Author: I am MIT alumni and was in 2001 – 2004 batch. The incident you are speaking about is absolutely misguiding. Some Muslim students complained about the halal meat not being served in campus. The catering company employed by MIT did not (back then) dealt with halal food, hence the school authority turn down the request of few Muslim students.
    About Mt. Sinai Institute, your claims exist in your imagination. I have lived 18 yrs in this country as child of immigrants, of which 2 yrs I spend in Europe for work. And from all the western nations I have been to so far USA is most tolerant of all. People are far more accepting various diversity than in Europe.
    2001 was a hard year for them, most Americans were ignorant of anything outside USA and were shocked how and why the attack happened. If u claim to be born in USA you should know this. The anger is natural, not justified though. But you decided to end up playing victim like most of the Muslims do. And the land you are in right now, please do find how much non Muslims feel safe and accepted. what rights does non Muslims have in Muslim world?Recommend

  • shahid mahmood ahmad

    your article has caused a roar in the us students. one may be misled by your article without reading reading the key at the end. this is a true picture of Ahmadi community in Pakistan.
    very rightly so.
    shahidRecommend

  • Maeedah

    HAHAHA

    brilliant.

    Why isn’t anyone reading the key?
    sattire anyone?Recommend

  • sarah

    @Boston Wala:
    You should really read the KEY at the end!Recommend

  • Maham

    Listen this is totally wrong! I lived in Maryland and I never faced a situation where people would hate me for being a Muslim or Pakistani for that fact. You can’t generalize opinions based on a few people from a respective religion, same goes to Christians who think “ALL” muslims are terrorists or something. Please don’t judge Islam by looking at the Muslims because they aren’t exactly following it the right way. Period.Recommend

  • h

    @Boston Wala: you’re supposed to switch the words in the key…Recommend

  • Mir Taqi

    Kashif Chaudhry – I feel sorry for the hardships you faced in your motherland…

    Your blog is an eye opener if we can decipher the meaning of the “Key” given at the end… Recommend

  • Mehreen

    Welcome back from a Pakistani sister. The Americans have shown their poisonous fangs. You will be able to practice medicine among Muslims who appreciate your knowledge.Recommend

  • Rob Wilson

    People, read the article fully! The author is talking about leaving Pakistan, not the US! see the key at the end of the article before firing off your comments!Recommend

  • Rizwan

    I don’t understand why would someone write lengthy comments without even reading the whole article. Unfortunately this is the story of Ahmadi Muslims living in “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. Great job brother Kashif.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    @Mehreen:
    read it again. and after you do repeat the sentence about “poisonous fangs” to whom it should be directed. Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    @Sid:
    please read the whole article before you comment. you even assumed you knew what incident he was referring to. you were wrong. try againRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    if you are not reading the entire article, at least read the other comments before displaying your ignoranceRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    @observing pakistanis in the US:
    this article won’t cause any damage. the people who want to hate other countries don’t need any excuses. the reason this specific structure is brilliant is because hypocrites reading it will start out reading it and nodding their head and commiserating with the author, then when they reach they key they will have to face their own bigotted thoughts. people with reading comprehension problems who form opinions and start ranting before reading the entire thing are not worth thinking about. why should writing cater to idiots.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    @amit:
    yes you are right. now read what he said instead of skimming and forming and unfounded opinionRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    @hamza:
    yes! exactly the point the author was making.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    @from a Med School in the US:
    it was written pretty clearly. many people understood it
    hatred towards america is embedded in a lot of people but i doubt that someone would start hating it after reading this piece.
    if he had just talked about the injustices faced in pakistan. people would either ignore it or accuse him of blasphemy or call him unpatriotic.
    by juxtaposing their fear of discrimination elsewhere with the bigotry they practice at home he has forced people to face their own hypocrisy Recommend

  • Sam

    KEEP CALM AND READ THE KEY!Recommend

  • observer

    @Boston Wala: Did you even read the key? There was a pun intended in this awesome blog!Recommend

  • Tughral T Ali

    Yar a word of advise to the writer and the editorial team of ET blogs: won’t you please learn your lesson by now and try not to be too clever with your satire? Just a scan of the comments people have posted shows you were not clear enough about the fact that you are actually highlighting the Ahmedis plight. Its gone completely the other way by people reading your blog literally.

    eds – Please please please stop trying to be clever. You get it wrong too often.

    (but i do agree with the spirit of the article. this discrimination has to stop).Recommend

  • mm

    @Boston Wala: He is being sarcastic. Read the keyRecommend

  • ABD

    The key to this article is the KEY! Recommend

  • Mahvash

    Guys,

    Refer to the key.. that will help sorting your views one the article..
    Excellent piece Kashif.. Hope you find peace and prosperity in your new homeland..Recommend

  • Zain Hasan

    I am printing this article, will put it at my work place, with its key highlighted.Recommend

  • Rana Yasir

    Loved it ! beautifully put..religious tolerance in pakistan is zero.Recommend

  • AH

    You got the attention you needed..it is sad that we are quick to blame but slow to accept responsibility for what is happening in our own backyardRecommend

  • Salman

    Dear INTELLIGENT READERS, please read KEY at the end of this article, before you comment and make yourself look stupid.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Somebody read the key please!!Recommend

  • anon

    READ THE KEYRecommend

  • M.

    I wish others would too! @Annoynymous: Recommend

  • Regard

    Kasif has used the most effective way that can exist to get the bigots in Pakistan to read this article, get carried away against americans before realizing that it is themselves. It goes way beyond satire. It has acheived its objective more than all the articles on the condition of Ahmadis in Pakistan. This one article alone reaches the summum of effectiveness I’ve ever seen in any writing. Hats off to Dr Kasif. Hope he will be able to go back to his beautiful Rabwah some day with the glory and satisfaction of having done something in its liberation from fascists.Recommend

  • redrock

    None of u bigots have got the message of this story. He is talking about what happened in Pakistan!! not what treatment he got in Harvard and MIT!!..Jeez read the key at the end before you all start posting comments!! Recommend

  • Saniya

    All of you people completely abusing the writer, you should read the key given at the end of the blog first. It is not a criticism of USA, it is actually a criticism of Pakistan for the way they have been treating Ahmadis for the past 4 decades. And all of you going on and on about how USA is just uber awesome, please realise this is not about USA. Before commenting, at least read the whole thing. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammedabbasi mohammed abbasi

    BLASPHEMY!

    Why – I have no idea just sounded dramatic! :PRecommend

  • Tanweer

    @Boston Wala:

    You missed the entire point of this article. Use the key . Recommend

  • Anon

    @Boston Wala:

    Did you bother to see the key at the end? :) Seems like you jumped the gun a little too early :)Recommend

  • Ummmm guys read the key….

    Yo if you guys read the whole thing you would have realized there is a key on the bottom of the page which basically means that all of these experiences were in Pakistan and he came to America for more religious tolerance. Recommend

  • Namzeb

    @rewq:
    did you even read the whole thing?Recommend

  • Mohsin Khan

    People should be asked to go through an IQ test before commenting. It is really funny how people missed the key at the end of the article. Recommend

  • Rizwan

    There is one ‘key’ missing in article
    4th of July = 14 AugustRecommend

  • Hassan

    @Boston Wala:
    Woosh.
    Read the key again.Recommend

  • shah

    most doctors in USA are millionaires!wonder how they pulled it off with such severe discrimination!!Recommend

  • Annoyed

    Oh my God. Can’t believer so many people completely missed the point. Goes on to say a lot about the sad state of our society.

    Read the damn key, people.Recommend

  • shanks

    @Boston Wala:
    You really didnt get it .Did you ? Read the Key at the endRecommend

  • shanks

    @Sid:
    3 Words – Check the key Recommend

  • Shahan

    @Boston Wala:
    Read the ‘key’Recommend

  • wow wow wow

    @Hala Syed:

    “he has forced people to face their own hypocrisy”. You got to be kidding me. If it was so easy to force people to face their hypocrisy by writing an article like this, world would have been a much better place by now and bloggers would have cured the world of all the ills and no one would have needed a psychiatrist. Wake up!Recommend

  • Sehar Jan

    What is happening to the minorities in Pakisran is worse. Muslims in US are more respected than anyone else. Why are then other Muslimd not leaving US. Everyone mostly Pakistani Muslims want to come to the US crazily. Next article write about those aspirants to go to Muslim countries instead of US. Recommend

  • Shail Arora

    @Boston Wala: Mate, do yourself a favor and get your comment deleted. Looks like people are more fixated on your comment rather than the gist of the whole blog.

    p.s.: To all those psychology undergrads, I’m quite sure you can use this data in one of your studies’.Recommend

  • Nero

    So you saw a few hateful stickers and heard couple of vocal racist, though powerless, preachers and you bailed out. That’s OK. But where did you end up? Pakistan – where hatred for other religions is taught in school books and thousands of clerics give anti-religious minority sermons openly. A country where Muslims are so scared of the 2% of its population that it has a blasphemy law which is misused regularly to settle scores. Recommend

  • Depth

    would have been nice to have put an asterisk on the words that were going to be re-defined at the end of the article. Anyways, people who know anything about the US and Pakistan would not have needed the key, and the people who would have needed the key would not have changed their world view even if they had seen it. Recommend