Stories about racism

The scariest costume you can wear this Halloween is ‘racism’

A fake ‘Sheikh’ nose, blackface, and a Mexican sombrero? Let me guess: you’re going to that Halloween party tonight as a ‘Howling Racist’. Halloween has little relevance to the lives of most Pakistani people. It is celebrated in certain elite quarters, while the rest of us wonder what scarcity of spookiness there is in this country that needs to be compensated for with a few extra zombie masks. For those who participate, I may have a Gullu Butt costume to lend out, if you ask nicely. But it is an important tradition in much of the Western world, particularly the United ...

Read Full Post

The importance of the Battle of Karbala and our ignorance towards it

With the Islamic month of Muharram upon us, I wanted to take the opportunity to implore Muslims (and whomever might be interested) to check out some of the events happening in their municipalities on the remembrance of the battle of Karbala. I will not talk about the battle itself, rather I would like to provide a few reasons as to why learning about this battle is vital for all Muslims. Though I cannot speak to the accuracy of the content of the lectures that are happening in your area, I still implore you all to attend these events in order to gain knowledge of ...

Read Full Post

Why should Indian Muslims and Christians be barred from taking part in the Garba?

I vividly remember the time I spent during my school and college days with Ghulam Farid, one of my best friends. He was like family to me. We have, however, not been able to catch up ever since I moved to Delhi and he remained in Rajasthan taking care of his family business. We would celebrate our respective festivals together every year. On Eidul Azha he would always invite me to his place, and I would relish the scrumptious biryani and mutton curry cooked by his gracious mother. On Diwali, I used to go to his shop and offer him sweets. And on Holi, ...

Read Full Post

If they thought Ahmed brought a ‘bomb’, why didn’t they evacuate the school?

When they say they thought 14-year-old MacArthur High School student, Ahmed Mohamed, brought a bomb to school, they are lying. They are lying through their teeth. Let’s examine the facts. This young student of Sudanese origin, who loves engineering gadgets in his spare time, brought a home-made clock to school to show to his engineering teacher. His teacher after examining the device, recognised it as a clock, but realised it could be misinterpreted as something dangerous, and warned Ahmed not to show it anyone else. According to Dallas Morning News, Ahmed said, “He was like, ‘That’s really nice. I would advise you not to show ...

Read Full Post

He was just a kid who made a clock, America

It has been 14 years since the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked – 2977 Americans died that day and thousands were injured. Soon after, the United States of America launched a full-scale offensive against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, under the name of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’. That operation lasted 13 years. American forces invaded Iraq as well, for around a decade.  Twenty thousand civilians and 6,000 security personnel have perished since 2003 in Pakistan. A grand total of 210,000 civilians have died, once you include the staggering numbers from Afghanistan and Iraq. Women, children, and unarmed men. What number is enough to stop calling it ‘collateral damage’? But ...

Read Full Post

God Help the Child: A searing and unflinching reflection of childhood trauma

Author Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She is an 84-year-old writer who has been writing novels over the past 50 years which are charged by a visionary power and have subjected a dark aspect of American reality to scrutiny. She is an epicist of African-American experience and her oeuvre has recorded the progress (or lack thereof) in the struggle for human rights of the people of colour in the United States. In most of her novels, Morrison has written about the sufferings of African-Americans at the hands of their counterparts, the whites, in the United States. However, the premise of her latest novel is quite different. ...

Read Full Post

Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan is Punjab

As 83 mutilated corpses are found in Balochistan, I further lose hope in our crumbling system and the state. A state which has failed its citizens over and over again.  Every man with an empty head and fickle mind is trying to formulate his own creed and ideology. It is tantamount to saying, in the presence of various man-made beliefs, that it is hard to follow one ideology with zeal and enthusiasm. The case of Pakistan is verily the same. In Pakistan, people are blind followers of false narratives, whether enforced by the mighty army or by the corrupt and incompetent politicians. I pity the ...

Read Full Post

Was what happened in Charleston terrorism?

In wake of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, terrorism expert Brian Phillips asks and answers five questions based on initial reports of the shooter and the massacre. 1) Is this terrorism? Yes. There are many definitions of terrorism, but most definitions have four elements in common: Violence; Perpetrated by an individual or non-governmental group Political, social, or religious motivations; Intimidating a wider audience than the immediate victims. By this definition, the massacre in Charleston, SC, on Wednesday, was clearly a terrorist act. The violence is evident in the death toll of nine people. The perpetrator apparently was not a soldier or official acting on behalf of a ...

Read Full Post

Why did no one stand up for Tahera Ahmad and the bigotry she faced?

If you have been following the ‘Tahera Ahmad and the Diet Coke’ saga, you know that a United Airlines flight attendant refused to serve a Muslim Chaplain, Ms Ahmad, on the grounds that the can could be used as a weapon, a disagreement followed, and a fellow passenger made profane comments aimed at her religious identity. Soon Ms Ahmad posted on Facebook saying: “I am in tears of humiliation.” Resultantly, Ms Ahmad became a symbol and icon. In an article at The Guardian she says, “This isn’t about me and a soda can, it’s about systemic injustice.” She adds, “They’re basically failing to recognise the humiliation.” The ensuing controversy can ...

Read Full Post

Zehreeli Chummi: The controversial ‘chummas’ Pakistanis need to take

There is one thing that all Pakistanis know about themselves – they can’t stand cartoons or comics. No, I’m not talking about the meek, biscuit or washing detergent company sponsored comics; I’m talking about those that question our beliefs, provoke our preconceived notions about religion, and reveal the corrupt system and politicians. We get so emotional about a drawing that we are willing to destroy our own city, kill our own people and any outsider who comes in our way. It doesn’t matter if he or she had nothing to do with those comics. Photo: Zehreeli Chummi Facebook page We ...

Read Full Post