Tag Archives: immigrants

Pakistani-Americans and Police Sharing, and Trying to Spread,Trust

Pakistani-Americans and Police Sharing, and Trying to Spread, Trust

Cross Post from The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/nyregion/17conn.html

By ANNE BARNARD

(New York Times) — STRATFORD, Conn. — Last month, a resident of Avon, Conn., received a threatening letter full of religious references. The police chief there, Mark Rinaldo, wondered whether the letter implied a broader threat from a Muslim militant.

He called Dr. Atique A. Mirza, a Pakistani-born Muslim cardiologist, who studied the letter for cultural, religious and political clues. They concluded that the threat probably involved a narrow dispute between neighbors.

Now that a Pakistani-American man from Connecticut, Faisal Shahzad, stands accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, setting off soul-searching and unease among the state’s thousands of residents of Pakistani descent, Mr. Rinaldo and Dr. Mirza are holding up their relationship — built over three years of meetings and cooperation between Pakistani-Americans and law enforcement — as a model for communities across the state and the nation.

The comfort level is such, said Mr. Rinaldo, that Dr. Mirza “wouldn’t be insulted and say, ‘Why are you calling me,’ “ nor would the chief doubt Dr. Mirza’s analysis. “That’s the trusting relationship we are looking for,” said Dr. Mirza, who has formally assumed the role of Avon’s police-community liaison for the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut (Paact), which has similar representatives in 13 towns and hopes to increase the number to 70.

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Filed under Identity, Islam, minorities, Pakistan, psychology, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

Neo ‘Iron curtain’ and the loud marching steps.

The Neo ‘Iron Curtain’ and the loud marching steps of  televangelistas.

Bradistan Calling

The latest cultural trend is the sensational rise of televangelist channels in U.K, using tactics which can only be described as ‘emotional and religious blackmail’ and premium rate phone charges to raise funds from devotees, most of these are Nigerian Pentecostal ‘Witchdoctor’  (faith healer potions and exorcisms) TV channels operating from London. Generally the term ‘televangelist’ refers to American evangelical splinter churches propagating to solicit donations for converting poor Africans. This concoction of ideologies is being beamed back to Africa and Asia through satellite. Continue reading

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Pride and the Pakistani Diaspora

By Ali Eteraz

The Pakistani diaspora is significant, around 7 million people, and contributed almost US$8 billion into the economy last year. It is composed by and large of people who only retain a connection to Pakistan via their families. Once the recipients of the remittances pass away, or as is more often the case, themselves leave Pakistan, the financial connection is severed. At this point, the Pakistani migrant takes his place in the new country, even if it means being a second-class citizen. If he is in the West, he usually defines himself as a ‘Muslim’ or ‘South Asian’ or sometimes even an ‘Indian.’ He then ceases to have a meaningful relationship with Pakistan. This depressing state of affairs is due to the identity struggle within Pakistan itself. Pakistanis abroad don’t know who they are or how they should relate to Pakistan because they don’t know what it means to be Pakistani. Continue reading

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The Politics of Burqah and Secularism

By Michelle Goldberg

On Monday, Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French president since Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte to address the Parliament, thanks to recent reforms that scrapped a 19th-century law meant to protect the independence of the legislature. Given the occasion, it was rather odd that Sarkozy’s strongest words were reserved for denouncing a garment that hardly any women in France wear. The burqa, he said, “is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission, of women.” It is, he added, “not welcome in France.” Headscarves have been banned in French schools since 2004. Now Sarkozy wants to go much further, banning burqas, loose, full-body veils that cover women entirely, as well as niqabs, or face veils, from being worn anywhere in public.
This was partly a rebuke to Obama, who outraged the French with parts of his Cairo speech. When Obama said that he rejects “the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal,” many people in France heard a shot at the country’s republican laïcité, which demands that faith be wholly relegated to the private sphere. “There was a “great outcry and a sense of being gravely insulted,” says Joan Scott, a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and author of the 2007 book The Politics of the Veil. “I think you can’t read Sarkozy’s words as anything but a response to that.”
Perhaps more important than the anger itself was the opportunity it created, giving Sarkozy a chance to reach out to the anti-immigrant French right without offending the left. Continue reading

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