Don’t worry Pakistani immigrant, the West will not treat you the way you treat your minorities

Published: May 24, 2014
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These cases must make you question what makes us Muslim folks so sensitive that we hatch up stories of great mistreatment at the hands of these evil Westerners based on the colour of our skin.

Migrating to a Western country has many perks. Considering Pakistan’s current situation, it’s quite natural for people to look for opportunities elsewhere, and migrating to a more developed country is usually one of the most sought-after solutions. Those who can avail it, almost always take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself.

So, it is disheartening to see some of those very people crying wolf on the smallest of issues and basing it on the religion they belong to or the country they originate from.

Here is an instance where I experienced such behaviour first-hand.

One fine evening, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine whom I used to know back in Pakistan. After exchanging cordialities, we started discussing about his stay in the United States so far. That was where the conversation began to rile me up. It went as followed,

“So, how do you like it in the US so far?” I asked.

“It’s really nice; it took me so long to finally get the visa. I love it here. However, I think the people here are quite racist,” replied Jamil*.

Jamil migrated to the US recently and is doing quite well for himself. Back in Karachi, he lived in a middle-class neighbourhood and attended an average school, just like the majority of the population. Being fairly smart, he  scored well in school and standardised tests, and after some efforts, received a scholarship to attend a good school in the US.

I thought Jamil must have been harassed by some locals or must’ve been verbally abused by the right-wing bigots. So I asked him worriedly,

“Did something happen? What makes you say they’re racist?”

With a hint of annoyance in his tone, he replied,

“A few days ago, I was running down the street to go to the mosque and this American driving down the street, honked and yelled some racist remarks at me”.

Thinking the guy must have yelled something really reprehensible, I inquired,

“Oh! That’s not good. What did he yell out?”

Wincing, Jamil replied,

“Well, he kept honking at me and was quite angry and I think he yelled ‘go back’ or something to that effect. I’m sure he must’ve seen my beard and the fact that I was so close to the mosque, must’ve hated the fact that I’m a Muslim. All these people just hate Muslims”.

Disappointed with his response, I asked,

“Wait a minute, so you were running in the middle of the street?”

“Well yes, I had to, because otherwise I would’ve missed my Maghrib (evening) prayers” Jamil answered.

My agitation was boiling up now.

“I’m sure it’s pretty bad to be honked at but did it occur to you that he may have been angry because you were running in the middle of the street, where cars are supposed to be driven? Also, you think you heard him say something he might not have said; even if you heard it correctly, ‘go back’ alone is hardly racist. You’re assuming too much to make yourself feel wronged.

Although there is a sizeable Muslim population where we live, Muslim culture is still not very well-known. So, assuming that a local person would know that some random guy running in the middle of the street is a Muslim just because he has a beard and that he must be going to a mosque for Maghrib prayers is not only preposterous, it’s a clear example of a bloated sense of self-worth.

Agitated with my answer, Jamil replied,

“Listen man, I know you’re all westernised and you like to brush all this under the rug to appease the goras, but I know racism when I see it. It was very insulting being yelled at on the road like this and I don’t take these things very lightly”.

This riled me up quite a bit but I held it in and in my attempt to reason with him I replied,

“You’re blowing this out of proportion. Sure, there are racist people here like everywhere else in the world but this was not an act of racism. Drivers here aren’t used to having people walk on the streets; that driver must have been angry seeing a guy doing that and thus, he honked and yelled. Besides, you can’t call everyone racist just because some random dude honked at you?”

Looking visibly furious, Jamil walked away without even saying good bye. I haven’t heard from him since.

Not too long after, I came across a blog by a similar gentleman residing in Canada, in which he labelled the entire country of Canada as discriminatory towards foreign students because a local newspaper refused to print his non-story. Just a reminder, his story was about him being called an ‘a*s#@|e’ by a bus driver. After being ‘verbally abused’, he filed a complaint with the bus authority against the driver. Now, if you assumed that the bus authority must have refused to accept his complaint due to which this gentleman felt discriminated against, then you are wrong. The bus authority accepted his complaint. So what went wrong? Why then did the author call this an act of racism?

Worry not, my friends, as you’re not alone in this conundrum. According to the author, this was an act of racism because the bus authority told him,

“We would not be able to tell you about the investigation and action regarding your complaint”.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, the local newspaper refused his request to print this story. This makes me wonder, what exactly did the author think the appropriate response by the authority should’ve been?

Should the authority fire the bus driver or fine him heftily? Or should they have made the driver apologise to the author?

And what should the local newspaper print regarding this story?

“This just came in! A young, Asian man got called an a*s#@|e by a bus driver”?

What he expected as an outcome remains a mystery. This cannot be termed as racial discrimination by any definition of the word; yet, the author was swift to call it racism just because his feelings were hurt.

Last year, a debate between Hamza Tzortzis and Physicist Laurence Krauss was held at University College London (UCL) in London, England. The Muslim organisers of this debate tried to enforce gender segregated seating for the event. The professor, a leading scientist and a prominent atheist, strongly opposed and threatened to walk out if the segregation wasn’t removed. The organisers eventually had to comply, even though the professor was termed ‘intolerant’ due to his ‘demands’.

UCL is a public university; public universities have to follow public norms and rules. They cannot apply rules that cannot be applied at any other public area. Since UK is a secular society, an organisation holding an event at a public facility cannot apply non-secular set of rules. But our Muslim brethren assume that they are entitled to receive certain privileges in non-Muslims countries which they themselves do not wish to extend to other non-Muslims living in Muslim countries.

These cases must make you question what makes us Muslim folks so sensitive that we hatch up stories of great mistreatment at the hands of these evil Westerners based on the colour of our skin or the beliefs we so sensitively wear on our sleeves. Why do we want special treatment for our non-stories by their news media, like the author of the aforementioned blog?

Do these (wishful) mistreatments by the West stick out like sore thumbs because we treat our minorities so admirably?

Is the West really out to get us?

Racism and discrimination are real problems faced by countless people around the world and we all know how Pakistan fares when it comes to treating its minorities – from a whole Christian neighbourhood being razed to the ground, to mass Hindu exodus and Hazara Shiite killings. Keeping Pakistan’s track record aside, this ‘vocal minority’, clamouring for special treatment of some kind, serves only themselves. They end up hurting people who are actual victims of marginalisation and are discriminated based on their race, gender, religion or any other conceivable boundary the human mind can think of.

If someone cries ‘racial discrimination’ on such a harmless curse word, why would other people take the next person crying ‘racial discrimination’ seriously? Crying wolf solves nobody’s problems.

We, Muslims, would do well if we realised a couple of things. Firstly, not everything that happens to us is because of our race or religion; sometimes we really do get what’s coming for us. Secondly, we would do well by promoting actual problems that exist, rather than trying to be a victim and playing the racism card. It just reflects badly on the rest of us.

*Names have been changed to protect identity

Danish Shah

Danish Shah

The author is an IT professional by day and a quasi couch/facebook/twitter activist by night. He tweets @Danisshhhh (twitter.com/Danisshhhh)

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

  • water bottle

    Good writing.

    Exactly the reason why Pakistanis and Muslims are backward in every single country.

    Muslims are ignorant and regressive even in oil rich Arab countries.

    ET, if you allow someone to call me anti-Muslim and anti-Islam, at least extend me the courtesy of allowing to their responses later on, okay, please?Recommend

  • keaga

    great article….seriously the amount people get touchy about imagined stuff…its like all their frustrations of being nobodies in their own countries manifests itself in this bizzarely exaggerated behaviour abroadRecommend

  • Rashid

    One thing you missed to mention…….”we also need to come back to our respective countries if we believe western nations are too intolerant/racist to us and our believes.”Recommend

  • pakiyonkimaakaa

    “Although there is a sizeable Muslim population where we live {WHERE EXACTLY DO THEY LIVE?], Muslim culture is still not very well-known.”

    can u Please explain what is muslim culture..Is it Indian or arabic…or is it pakistani culture of ghaznavis and gauri’s.Please throw some light on it..As an Indian Muslim I would like to know more about your muslim culture..Recommend

  • humanbeing_not_a_Muslim

    ERR. You are a hypocrite, Muslims are pious people from Andromeda galaxy. They are gods chosen people, like it or not special treatment should be given if possible even castles have to be constructed to make their life easier. ET shouldn’t publish such outrageous articles which makes Muslims think and introspect.Recommend

  • Zara

    Good article. I was born in the UK and have been to USA a few times as I have cousins there. Growing up here I would say I probably experienced racism rarely. On the few occasions I did it was usually a coward driving past winding down his window and shouting a racial profanity.
    I now work as a doctor and only once in over 15 years of practice did a patient say that he did jot want to see a ‘coloured’ doctor. The other all white doctors in the clinic were so enraged by this they immediately struck the patient off our list.
    I am not naive and realise racism now exists as ‘not in your face’ but rather in a very subtle way. I remember reading a research piece here recently where it was shown that you were more likely to be called for a job interview if you had an English sounding regardless of your CV.
    I have definitely observed the rise of Islamaphobia here after 9/11 especially in the media. However, there has been a lot of effort put in by Muslims here to try and dispel the image of all Muslims as radicals. Our local mosque annually raises funds for local charities and holds regular interfaith meetings.
    At the end of the day the West for my family has given us great opportunities that would have been unimaginable had my father stayed in Pakistan. Western people in general are more accepting and less judgemental than in Pakistan.
    Recommend

  • MA

    Danish Sahib, you seem to have omitted mentioning the willful persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in PakistanRecommend

  • kamran

    “Do to others as you want they do with you” keeping this quote in mind we can improve our relation to all human being without considering sects or religion.Recommend

  • Ali

    You give words to my thoughtsRecommend

  • MrRollsRoyce

    Well written Danish. I am bemused myself with the hypocrisy of Pakistani muslim immigrants to western nations. They behave as if they are superior and their culture is superior and the natives are “dirty” “untouchables” not worthy of friendship or respect. They expect all concessions to be made for them, for the local culture and people to bend themselves to the lifestyle of the immigrants. The smallest provocation is taken as an assualt on islam. On the other hand they all happily choose to ignore that minorities in Pakistan are not just being abused by racism, but they are highly oppressed and being killed on the slightest of pretexts.

    Yes there is racism in western countries, but it is rare especially in the socially advanced one such as Scandinavia. I would say that a lot of the racism is not due to skin color but the absolutely pathetic attitudes, especially related to treatment of women that the immigrants bring with themselves and how they treat the locals with disdain.Recommend

  • Pervez

    Muslims have now proverbially become more loyal than the king!
    For example take the issue of gender segregation mentioned in the article. There is no gender segregation in Islam which is evidenced by the fact that even in the most sacred site in Islam (Masjid Al Haram) muslim men and women have been performing haj together ever since Islam started.Recommend

  • shejih

    SuperRecommend

  • Awais

    Oh come on now! We all know how lovely the US is, I mean look at the damn history, no racism at all, just the natives removed and all of their rights taken or turned into slaves -_- Saying that whole nation is racist would be wrong but then approving them and covering there 90% would also be wrong! This article does not look both sides at all and seems ‘majorly’ covering up the Western world! After all they did the same with the natives as of what today Israel is doing with Palestine! And the not so racist Western world is so happy with it that even UN does not take a step forward! :) Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Hmmm Practical , sensible thoughts . indeed.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    “Muslim culture is still not very well-known”
    .
    One of the problems is that Muslims can’t distinguish culture from religion. Covering women from head to toe maybe culturally acceptable in one Muslim country but not another — yet both will say they are following Islam.Recommend

  • Critical

    I think he is mentioning Houston…. It has a huge Pakistani population….Although I need to say that the Indian friends who live there personally found the Pakistanis warm and accomodatingRecommend

  • Grace

    Now you know why people don’t believe half the stuff that Pakistanis complain of in Pakistan. Usually they just make things up and exaggerate abroad and in Pakistan too. Pakistan is nowhere near as bad as most Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya etc but to hear how Pakistanis complain, you would think it’s hell. It’s just that Pakistanis have a habit of complaining and not working to fix things. After all it’s easier to exaggerate and complain but harder to work! But all Muslim peoples have the same habit which is why Turks in Germany, Arabs in France, Pakistanis in UK, Iranians, Iraqis and Afghans refugees in Sweden or Somali refugees everywhere live on state khayrat but still complain about where they live free ( not working) and how they are treated by Western people.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I hit the ‘like’ button after reading the title. The rest of the blog meets the expectation too.

    And yes, that shrill blog confusing the bus driver’s rudeness for “bigotry” was truly preposterous. I was hoping somebody would respond.Recommend

  • Critical

    Muslims are strange people… First they escape from a Sharia ruled country and apply asylum for their protection in Western countries…

    Once their strength grows,they demand special rights and start protesting the govt to enforce the same sharia lawRecommend

  • FH

    Thank you…People like you Mr.Author give me hope…Pointing out the hypocrisy among Muslims. A big Salute!Recommend

  • Fh

    What about the Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan? Just yesterday, Sikhs broke the gate of parliament to protest against the desecration of their book: the Grainth. And your fellow muslim brothers are kidnapping innocent Hindu and Christian girls day by day and no justice has been served. At least in the west, they give justice to the oppressedRecommend

  • Rangoonwala

    Looks you are back with your hatred for Muslims and Pakistanis.
    must be from the Poona call center. Were whole packs of you
    are living.Recommend

  • Gp65

    The author never claimed that there is no racism. All that the author claims is that sometimes people claim victimhood and play race card for issues that are unrelated to racism.Recommend

  • Rangoonwala

    The author who wrote this is a fake . This is an Indian troll.
    Pretending to be a Muslim. They will write anything vile.
    This whole article is so contrived. People should throw up.
    Dripping with phoniness. Nobody runs in the middle of the street.
    While on way to the mosque.
    Not even in Papua New Guinea. These Indian trolls will stoop to
    anything.Recommend

  • z

    I cannot understand why crap like this is published in a Pakistani Newspaper.Recommend

  • abubakar

    O really? . Sorry to burst your bubble but there indeed is gender segregation in islam.Recommend

  • Chief Jacob

    Pakistan has been ranked as one of the least racist countries pakistanis remarlably tolerant in the world,
    according to a report in the Washington Post. ( The International Newyork Times May 16 2013 )Recommend

  • bob

    You are mixing apples with oranges. I have a very simple question Awais, why do more and more Pakistanis keep arriving in the US or Canada to stay?Recommend

  • Mehdi

    Please remain in Pakistan and promote your intolerant view further.Recommend

  • Eddied

    It never ceases to amaze me how unthinking fools can characterize the west by using a reference that is hundreds of years old?….do you think America is the same today as it was 300 years ago?…just 200 years ago slavery was legal..but since western culture continues to evolve it was eliminated about 150 years ago…Saudi Arabia did not outlaw slavery until 1962…racism is unacceptable in the USA today and although there are still some ignorant uneducated people who may be racists, they are a small minority that is completely shunned by normal society…Recommend

  • Kind normal person

    I assume your slightly insane to suggest that Israel is doing anything negative to people living in the areas controlled by the Palestinian authority, you seem to forget the Jews were there long before the Christians and the Muslims .Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    I have spent some time abroad and I can agree with article.Recommend

  • stevenson

    Most of the Pakistanis in Houston are actually Gujarati shop owners who are from Karachi – they are not native Pakistanis which is why they have a close relationship to Indians.Recommend

  • Qaiser Habib

    Guys living in west you have a very wrong impression. We even treat majority the same way. Every week a few dozen people are killer. May Allah help us.Recommend

  • SamSal

    our Muslim brethren assume that they are entitled to receive certain privileges in non-Muslims countries which they themselves do not wish to extend to other non-Muslims living in Muslim countries.

    This line sums up the article. Well done!! :)Recommend

  • ajeet

    Don’t worry. Once they migrate to west and increase their population, west will become like Pakistan.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    Anyone who has visited the USA should drop into one of their large indoor shopping malls … grab a sandwich and have a seat at one of the many benches/tables and people watch for a while. Give you a better grasp of just how diversified America is – certainly change any perception that the USA is a “white” country.Recommend

  • Pervez

    Can you tell me the process how the Prophet got married to his first wife?Recommend

  • abubakar

    That was before islam.Recommend

  • genesis

    Rise of ‘Islamophobia’ is mainly because it is the Muslims who always insist on their exclusivity and the right to live as they wish to. Nothing wrong with this but the majority society does not live like this and so tensions rise. If the do need this exclusivity they should not immigrate to these lands in the first place and should live in their home countries to maintain their lifestyles.Recommend

  • genesis

    This is more true of the converts than the original Arabs.Recommend

  • genesis

    Do not go to this country and those who have done should leave!Recommend

  • genesis

    It is the only country where every type of ‘racial feature’ can be seen Not many countries can boast of this diversity. You are always welcome to leave if you are unhappy or do not like!Recommend

  • Landhi wala

    Relax. This an Indian troll. Very likely.
    Writing under a Muslim name.Recommend

  • Pervez

    The Prophet’s behavior was always considered as model and worthy of emulating, whether it was before or after Islam. Recommend

  • tanolion

    im surprized by looking at the number of indians commenting here always.why ,here,now i do guess,u want smting out of it.dont take me narrowminded,suspicious. v little pakistanis but more indian v strangeRecommend

  • FOX

    Why are so many Muslim folks here upset that an Indian or Indians are posting their thoughts here. Is it unacceptable for a citizen of Indian to participate in these forums. Is this mentioned in the “hadiths”?Recommend

  • genesis

    Not surprising at all. There are not many minorities left and the few that are there and trying to get out fast..Recommend

  • abubakar

    Fath al-Bari (2/466) look up this hadith, it’s just one of many such. Wish washy people like you have created your own watered down version of islam to both appease yourselves and to also make it appear conforming to the modern world. Such people dont have the guts to follow real tenets of Islam.Recommend

  • abubakar

    Also a bit like india too, don’t you think? Recommend

  • Faraz

    Errrr….. and Jinnah was a non-native Pakistani by your standards!Recommend

  • Junis

    We Pakistanis are not a great people. However, this does not mean that Westerners are honest and non-racist. If you look at the comment section of most online newspapers, you will see how antipathetic they are towards Muslims. Even when there’s obvious maltreatment against Muslims, most of their opinions are against Muslims. When they’re seemingly anonymous, they show their true colors.

    Muslims are a cheap people. This is the reason why they don’t have the guts to stand up for the mistreatment of their own people here and abroad.

    Anyone who thinks Muslims are treated as well as other ethnicites in the UK is not opening their eyes.

    How did the UK Muslim community stand up for the imprisonment of Muslim dissident Babar Ahmad without charge for 9 years – and subsequent extradtion to America?

    Muslim Pakistani mistreatment of Christian Pakistanis and Hindus – although reprehensible – cannot be classified as racism.Recommend

  • Junis

    You don’t wear a Hijab. “Western people in general are more accepting and less judgemental than in Pakistan.”. You mean like Anders Brievik?Recommend

  • Junis

    Not only Impracticable but also inconvenient. How can Muslims go back to their own countries when most of them are either bombed or boycotted by the West? Pay us reparations for the war damage you have caused there and then we will consider going back.Recommend