Posted on March 3, 2008
Filed Under >Zara K., Foreign Relations, Pakistanis Abroad, Religion, Travel
24 Comments
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24 responses to “The Losing Face of Multiculturalism”

  1. ahmed says:

    Harr aik baat pe kehtey ho tum k ‘tu’ kya hai
    tumhein kaho k yeh andaz-e-guftugu kya hai?

    I am a Pakistani living in US for a little less than a decade. A few months ago I visited a sports bar after winning a soccer game with my college team. Nothing competitive about the whole affair. Just another intramural enthusiasts coming together for fun, ecstatic together after a day’s play. A total stranger on the other table, after reading ‘Pakistan” on the back of my custom made T-shirt, tapped on my shoulder asking me if I hated US like ‘all other pakistanis’. A lot of my friends who know a little about me and Pakistan would be shocked by such a query and a little embarassed if they are Americans themselves. My feelings resonate with Zara’s article conveying the feelings of a person who has had varied experiences. Whatever that was exchanged between him and I concluded on the statement from my ‘stranger’ friend that his view about Pakistanis was (hopefully positively) changed forever.

    I think feeling apologetic, regretful or any other form of human emotion after such incidents is on both sides of the table. I guess people like us (Pakistanis living abroad in these tumultuous times pay a small price for building bridges (or breaking them) for next generation of Pakistanis to come through our random interactions across the world. I hope for their sake that we keep our nerves and our cool intact!

  2. Michael says:

    Dear Zara,

    I would like to reassure you that, yes, there are people in western countries who have a good opinion of Pakistan.
    Yes, I love your culture and I respect your country. Let me tell you that, if you were to meet me by chance in Europe or anywhere else, I would make you feel that talking to someone from your region of the world was one of the most interesting and positive experiences in my day… And I hope that it would make you forget the inquisitive look of the airport police officers, and the scared faced of the elderly Europeans.

    Yes, there is fear and there is distrust. There is also the never-ending fascination for cultural bridges that span thousands of kilometers, discovering with delight what is different to better highlight what we have in common.

    All the best,
    Michael (from Paris)

  3. Nimi says:

    I guess that in order to live in the west (even according to customs imported from elsewhere) people have got to share at least a set of fundamental principles. “Incitation to hatered” is considered as a crime. “Critisim of religions” is a right acquired in Europe after a long struggle.

    Ms. Malik case seems to fall in the first category. This is not about muslims alone. In the early 20th century, people called “anarchists” were treated the same way. In England, IRA too was dealt in a similar manner. There are no special rules for muslims…the tactics however can be more adapted to a particular situation.

    Now when the carricature of the holy Prophet were published, intellectuals all around Europe said they were a meaningless criticism of a religion and was not necessary.

    The ideas of the conservative catholic newspaper “Jalladenposten ?” are not difficult to understand. They would surely jump on an occasion of muslim bashing. The public opinion in general was also not enthusiastic about them. But when people started to get the news of bloody protests all around the world (in countries where protesting anyway is not permitted) and even assisnations (In Turkey and in Indonesia e.g.) then the opinion got biased.

    Desis living in the west shall also have to believe in the fact that no belief is superior to human life. Nobody should be threatened for life because he or she said something idiot about our prophet or even our God.

  4. Asif Beg says:

    “The dominating voice gets heard more often. Because people like Ms Malik,