Changing the Anti-Pakistan mind set
This is a daily routine for me to fight prejudice and stereotyping of people, any people. A few selfish men are hung up with “me, me and me only” and cry out that their problem was not attended to; I have a question for them. First, have you attended anyone’s problem other than your own? Second, I am blessed to have served and defended literally every community across the world including yours, Native Americans, LGBT community and others. It is all documented.
Here is a sample of what happened today.
This exchange is from a middle aged man known to me for a long time; his parents are my good acquaintances.
The Raja story
He writes, “I am sick of this Mike it’s not worth it. It’s as I told a person at work I am not driven to be friends with Pakistanis and even that too Indian Muslims depending on situations. “
My response, “A few Indians cheat and lie, and the white people tell me that they hate us, it takes a lot of work to change that mindset. Prejudice is not good Raja… for the acts of a few, you cannot brand all people. I have fought prejudice and stereotyping all my life. Your bias towards Pakistani people or Muslims is irrational. Take it from me, for every Muslim ass, there is a Hindu, Sikh, Christian and a Jewish ass, and now add the Buddhist ass as well. Take care my friend, free yourselves from prejudices, you will find happiness.”
He responded, “Until a Pakistani I meet that I find strengthens me most have weakened or been neutral then no I don’t’ seek them BUT if they should be in my path I do respect them as I would expect respect given to me. That is not something I intend to apologize for. What I do apologize for is disrespecting other Muslims who are Arab or Turks or others. I wasn’t fair to them because of my anger and hate at Pakistanis which may be founded but it’s not fair to them. In other words it is not ISLAM it’s our Muslims and particularly in general PAKISTANIS and the concept not necessarily of Pakistan itself but the way that concept has evolved. Think about that sir. Anyway sir it has been a pleasure and I am always a fan of you. It’s an honor that you are a friend to us.”
What I have found is goodness always works, here is Quran 41:34. Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.” I firmly believe in Quran, and shamefully many a Muslims don’t. Mother Teresa had said, if you want to make peace with your enemy go talk with them and show them that you are not what they perceive to be.
The Ravi Kanth story.
I started the radio station in Dallas in 1996, the first Desi talk show radio on Saturday Mornings where we discussed all issues of the subcontinent. It was all about the Subcontinentians! Our head line news was called BINPS news – i.e., Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in alphabetical order.
I took live calls on the air… once a guy called and threatened me for talking about Pakistan in positive terms, I was tied up and asked him to give his phone number to call back, and the stupid gave it.
A month later I was talking with late Ravi Kanth, anchor of TV Asia, he asked me if people get pissed off about a conversation about Pakistan, he was threatened, and I jumped and said, so was I. I gave him the number, they reported him and he was in Oklahoma federal penitentiary.
In Dallas with my extensive interactions with the community, that I ran yahoogroups called Dallas Indians (1800 Members) and Dallas Pakistanis (1000) Members, Dallas Bangladeshis (150+), Dallas Sri Lankans (60+) and Dallas Nepalese (50+). It was the only connection for nearly a decade. What I have found was 11 and 6 Pakistanis who were disgustingly prejudiced against each other and were real jerks.
A true patriot brings peace within the nation and with others around it. A true Indian patriot would be someone who works for peaceful existence of India with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Ultimate patriotism is building a secure nation. A desh drohi (traitor) is hell bent on aggravating enmity between nations and people. The same goes for Pakistan, a patriotic Pakistani would want to build good relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran; her neighbors. We have to believe in the majority of people – good people on both sides and help educate the short sighted ones, like Raja and several others. There is hope, most of them come around to reason and logic.
Here is God’s formula – every community will have 1% of jerks by nation, religion or race. Stereotyping is bad, intelligent people judge individuals for their acts where as stupid people judge the whole group for the acts of a few. I urge you to be among the intelligent ones, God has made you to be intelligent.
In Washington, DC, I was instrumental in establishing a Muslim Institution from scratch, I did it as a challenge, but exclusive service is not my cup of tea. However, being a Muslim, I continue to serve Islam through our think tank – www.WorldMuslimCongress.org, a 15 year old organization with 1500 plus articles on every topic and 1700 members from across the world.
The test of a successful civilized nation is if every man and woman can breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell she or he wants to believe.
I cannot exclude myself from serving people of all faiths, races and regions. I have to be inclusive, and that is what God wants; to serve all of his creation without bias, and do our share in restoring harmony. In the long haul we have to serve all for the common good. I am pleased to serve at the Center for Pluralism committed to building a cohesive America, where every American feels secure, not only today, but for years to come. Check out our well organized programs that bring people on social, cultural and religious issues together to understand each other. If we learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
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