Stories about racism

When a white “terrorist” is awarded a privilege 1.8 billion Muslims are denied

If the world can largely agree on one thing, it is the need to defeat terrorism. However, the frequency of unity seen when condemning terror does not echo beyond that, for every state of the world is employing its own methods (or lack thereof) of tackling this daunting, multi-faceted predicament, and hence achieving varying degrees of success. The first and probably most pivotal step in the fight against terrorism is to clearly define what constitutes as terror and who is actually a terrorist. Failure to reach a singular consensus on this starting point will invariably lead to utter confusion amongst the ...

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Muslim immigrants’ alternative terror: “I’m relieved my religion or nationality is not questioned, at least this time”

I am a Muslim American and have lived in Las Vegas for over 17 years. It is my city, it is my home, and this is where all three of my kids were born. They were born in three different hospitals; the very same hospitals, which are now treating victims of the Sunday night massacre.  I am writing this to make a connection, a connection of love for the city, being invested in the city, being a part of the community and the very robust life of Las Vegas. Last night, as I saw the news unfold, I found myself in an unbelievable place; ...

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Can Islam and democracy coexist in today’s world?

Germany has given its verdict and elected Angela Merkel for the fourth consecutive term. Her victory has relieved many as her popularity took a nosedive after her brave decision to take in refugees in 2015. However, at the same time, the reduced margin of her victory has also raised alarms. The German far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has accumulated 13% of the total votes, becoming the first such party to win so many seats in more than 50 years. The improvement in its vote tally is remarkable, given the fact that it only won 4.7% of the total votes in the 2013 elections, narrowly missing the ...

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Donald Trump’s America is awfully racist and discriminatory, but is Pakistan any different?

Q: Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest racist of them all? A: The human race Recently, I came across a video which showed a young Palestinian-American Muslim mother talking about the struggle of handling her young daughters. This was in reference to race and religion in the current political climate raging in the US. Her talk made me ponder about the truth of raising my kids in the US. And for a moment, it made me second guess my decision of moving to the American shores some 20 years ago.  Welcome to the American world of Donald Trump. A world where race is an issue, where ...

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Dear Disney, casting Naomi Scott as Jasmine just because she’s brown highlights the Orientalist tendency of conflating all brown cultures

Disney recently announced their selections for the cast of the new live-action remake of the 1992 animated movie, Aladdin. The announcement, however, was met with widespread outrage. British actress Naomi Scott of Indian heritage was selected to play Jasmine, and people were furious at Disney’s failure to give the opportunity to someone who is actually Arab. Prior to this announcement, Disney had disclosed that they had been having difficulty selecting Middle Eastern actors for the part. “It can’t be easy to cast a Middle Eastern actor as a terrorist but difficult to cast the same people in a leading role,” the journalist Rawan Eewshah wrote for Allure on ...

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The London mosque incident was not only an attack against Muslims, but an attack against all of London

On Monday, as the clock struck midnight, Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old from Cardiff, drove a rented white van over innocent people outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Eleven innocent people were injured while one succumbed to injuries. Onlookers recalled Osborne shouting, “I want to kill all Muslims.” Why did he commit this act? What were his motives? What does he want? I suppose we will find out more over time, though one thing is for sure – as much as this attack is against Muslims, it is also an attack against London. I’m glad each and every political figure condemned this attack, regardless of the attacker’s ...

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Why is my brown skin, unapologetically bearded face, and big backpack a threat to you?

Reading about the developments from Finsbury Park, London, where Darren Osborne drove a van onto innocent civilians leaving a Mosque makes me sad, upset, and angry, but it is not shocking. We all know the media has been presenting an “us versus them” narrative when covering Muslims; that we reject western values and our way of life is out of tune with yours. But yours is mine, too. I use the tube to commute every day, like the rest of you. I use it to get to school, exhibitions, friend’s places, parties, just like you. Countless times, I’ve walked to the platform at Holborn ...

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Why do students in American high schools resort to humiliating Muslims and people who aren’t white?

When the student body president of a Northern California high school won his campaign after posting an Islamophobic joke, I was not surprised. It is part and parcel of American high schools to reward students for racism, particularly when the school administration isn’t interested in protecting vulnerable students for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. By overlooking racist and toxic behaviour, schools inevitably normalise racism, misogyny, and heterosexism, all of which lend to bullying and cheapen the lives of many young people at these schools. And it’s not only the oppressed or the so-called victim who is negatively affected by this situation, but the oppressor as ...

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No, Imran Khan’s “phateechar” comment was not racist

Prejudice has flown through Pakistani society across generations. We have held open biases against ethnicities that aren’t our own, against women, against religious minorities, against those of a different sexual orientation, and of course, against people with darker skin tones. The latter is especially common, even today. For example, our film, advertising, and modelling industry features very few artists who don’t have light skin. In fact, there is so much pressure in Pakistan that skin whitening creams are advertised and sold to reinforce every other stupid potential mother-in-law’s view that their son, regardless of his skin tone, should marry ...

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Why is Imran Khan so racist?

Captain of a cricket world cup winning team, founding multiple cancer hospitals and a University – Imran Khan had enough credit to be welcomed as a hero anywhere he went in Pakistan but he seems to be on a one man mission to lose all the credit he has and then some. To paraphrase the quote from The Dark Knight, you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become Imran.  Imran has shown in the past that he is not averse to pulling any tactic to seize power – no antic is too shameful for ...

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