Stories about discrimination

Don’t ask for a soda can on United Airlines if you are a Muslim

A few days ago, I came across a post on Facebook by Tahera Ahmad. I was left dumbfounded. Tahera Ahmad was an ordinary Muslim passenger on board a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Washington DC. Ahmad, a well-educated Muslim woman from North-western University, was travelling for a conference, aimed at promoting awareness between Israeli and Palestinian youth, when a rather disturbing incident of racial profiling took place against her during the flight. Her crime? She asked for an unopened can of diet soda. Photo: Screenshot Like any other passenger, Ahmad, for hygienic purposes, asked the flight attendant for an unopened can of diet soda. ...

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‘No groom for you’ – The dilemma of an Indian gay man

Most concerned Indian parents worry about their child’s happiness and would like to see her/him live a happy and fulfilled life, and being married is traditionally considered part of that equation of fulfilment. The search begins to find the correct partner, by word of mouth and other avenues. One method includes placing a newspaper matrimonial advertisement in a local or national newspaper to draw upon the eyes of many potential suitors and their families for marriage. Once the ad is placed, the phones begin to ring and emails are exchanged, all leading to a potential match. Everybody is happy! Yay! However, for one such ...

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Forced to sell alcohol: Why is the ‘ummah’ silent over the plight of Chinese Muslims?

Imagine if you are a vegetarian Hindu and hold the cow sacred, that beef is shoved into your mouth. Imagine if you are a staunch Christian, that you are forbidden to baptise your newborn baby. Painful? Yes. Some of us may even say what’s new in this, and Pakistan’s minorities have suffered this and more. And they have. And no minority anywhere in the world should have to go through this. But there is a huge difference in this and what is happening to the Muslims in Xinjiang province in China. In Pakistan, this is done at the hands of extremists. But ...

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Meet Maryam, India’s Malala

Recently, a 12-year-old Indian Muslim girl named Maryam won a contest by answering all the questions asked in the Bhagwad Gita. This is the first time in India’s history that a Muslim girl has broken such a record. The news of the young Muslim girl went viral on social networking portals and sparked numerous debates on news channel. While some highlighted the politics behind it, others praised the young girl’s efforts. Maryam has set a fine example for people who divide masses using religious bigotry. India boasts of diversity, given the existence of various religions, but within its internal system, people are bifurcated on the ...

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Once you’re Pakistani, there is no going back to India

The non-issuance of visas to India continues to irk thousands of Pakistani Americans as the former remains hell bent to grind an axe with Pakistanis, regardless of borders or their new nationalities. At the moment, there are an estimated 500,000 Pakistani Americans in the US and the rate of their continually burgeoning numbers makes them the second fastest growing group of Asian immigrants in the US. According to the Pew Research Centre, the entire population of Asian Americans, which includes Pakistanis, is among those in the highest income bracket as well as the best educated in the country. However, despite all the good check marks ...

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If Angelina Jolie and Deepika Padukone can do it, so can you!

Almost two years ago, American actress, filmmaker and humanitarian, Angelina Jolie, shocked the world when she disclosed that she underwent a double mastectomy due to the risk of breast cancer. A few months back, Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone revealed that she had been suffering from depression and had been on medication.

Jolie again stunned the world by revealing that, recently, she had her ovaries removed. Two of her letters published in The New York Times, the recent one on March 24, 2015, was solely aimed at informing and encouraging women, who suffer from cancer, motivating them towards dealing with its physical and psychological effects. These actresses, sharing their vulnerable side, ...

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Perhaps Jordan can teach Pakistan how to treat its minorities

The deadly attack on Pakistan’s Christian minority in Youhanabad left 16 people dead and was followed by communal clashes in Lahore. Soon after the incident, the Bohra community was targeted in Karachi last Friday. These attacks are not new to religious minorities in Pakistan, who have been living under fear of their lives for the past few years; their residential colonies, work places and places of worship are turning into slaughter houses in their own homeland. However, in case of other Muslim-majority countries, minority groups continue to live in peace and enjoy the rights and privileges prescribed to them by law. ...

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I stand in solidarity with Patricia Arquette

I am not a huge fan of the Oscars because nothing interesting happens during it. It’s the same old show, but recycled every year. And the only reason I’d ever watch the Oscars is because of the pretty dresses showcased by celebrities on the red carpet. I love pretty dresses.   However, this past Sunday, the Oscars took a different turn; they actually became interesting. More and more celebrities were seen talking about rights; civil rights, women rights, immigrant rights, etcetera. From John Legend’s powerful speech on the fact that there are far more black men under correctional control today than they were under slavery in 1850 to Alejandro Gonzalez’s speech which,  after ...

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Who will help the Christian slum dwellers in Islamabad now?

Three-year-old beady eyed Nazia frolics mischievously around the room, trying to coax a response from me. Her mother scolds her, ordering her to go play with her younger brother outside. I, for one, am glad that Nazia is a child as she is oblivious to the constant fear that looms over her family – a fear of being left homeless by the end of this year. Nazia and her family are one of the 80,000 unfortunate slum inhabitants, living in Maskeen Colony Islamabad, one of the thirty odd slums that have been notified by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for evacuation on the pretext of being ...

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Why can’t we clean our streets and houses ourselves?

It was December 25, 2014 and I was heading out for work. As I approached the main gate, my eye caught sight of our building’s notice board. The words scribbled on the board left me dumbfounded. It read: “Important Notice: On December 25 and December 26, on account of the Christian community’s religious festival, Christmas, the sweepers will be off. Hence, on these two days, residents are requested to make sure garbage is not dumped on their balconies and special care is taken of their surroundings, with regards to cleanliness. Thank you.” Photo: Ishrat Ansari Though born and bred ...

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