Jan. 5, 2018
- A Pakistani-American Muslim Meets a Pakistani Jew in Israel – Ibrahim Rashid
On my first day in Jerusalem, as I boarded the bus to the Western Wall, my driver asked, “Where are you from?” and proudly, I announced, “I’m from Pakistan,” to which he replied, “I’m from Pakistan, too.” I was stunned. There are Pakistanis in Israel?
“What’s your name?” I asked in broken Urdu. “My name is Shimshon.” Shimshon? That’s an odd-sounding Pakistani name, I thought. “How long have you been in Israel?” “Since 1957.” “Wow, that’s a while. When were you last in Pakistan?” “1957.” Confused, I asked, “Why haven’t you gone back since?” “Because I can’t, it’s not safe for me.” And then it hit me. Shimson is Jewish.
He told me about growing up in Karachi – the city my family’s from – and fearing for his life. He was harassed in the streets, his synagogue was targeted, and along with the rest of Karachi’s Jews, he had to flee to the only country that would take him, Israel. We come from the same land, speak the same language, and he could even pass for one of my relatives, but because of his religion, our country failed him and now he’s here, the only place where he feels safe.
I was overcome with shame. How can I be proud of being Pakistani when this is how we treat our minorities? I ask all Muslims, no matter your politics, that you recognize that we, as an Ummah, failed the Jews. We failed them by kicking them out of our homes and treating them as everything but our brothers. (Huffington Post)