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The Double Standard Muslims Won’t Talk About

In Canada, Madiha, a Pakistani Muslim environmental engineer, along with her family had her life cut short. A white supremacist attacked and killed her and her family with his truck. On June 12, they were laid to rest in London, Ontario. In Pakistan, a large mob opposed the burial of an Ahmadi Muslim grandma in her ancestral village. As a Pakistani, Ahmadi Muslim, immigrant to north America, both of these incidents painfully hit home. 

Madiha hailed from Peshawar, where I was born and raised. She went to the University of Engineering and Technology located in the premises of my Alma Mater, University of Peshawar. Even now I can see how she maneuvered through her academic path as the only woman in a class of 174 men in one of the most conservative cities of Pakistan. She worked in a field that is considered a highly male dominated field even in America. She moved to Canada for a better future. In Canada, she was working as an Environmental Engineer and pursuing her doctorate while raising her beautiful children. She smashed a number of stereotypes and broke that glass ceiling not once but throughout her life. In the end, an ignorant man with no life put an end to her beautiful life. 

In Pakistan, extremists opposed the burial of an Ahmadi grandma just because she belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The mob raised hateful slogans and incited violence against the members of her family. The deceased grandma must have spent her entire life in that village. It was the land where she was born, raised, and died. She was not an immigrant—she belonged to that soil and yet that soil was denied to her. Likely, many of those men who turned against her burial were raised right in front of her eyes. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In her case, the village she raised became her staunch enemy. 

What happened in both Canada and Pakistan stemmed out of sheer ignorance and the fear of otherness, be it because of the color of their skin, their culture, or simply because of a different religious belief.  While these incidents have uncanny resemblance, they also have a fundamental difference. In Canada, people came out in droves to put flowers on the crime scene, Prime Minister Justin Trudeo condemned it in strongest words possible and called it Islamophobia and terrorism, and people from all walks of life spoke up against it. However, there were still several people who made comments such as, “I am surprised this didn't happen earlier,” because immigrants are taking over our country—flat out justifying the barbarism. My heart is aching with what happened to Madiha and her family. But I am happy to see the support her family is receiving. I am happy to see that Canadian Police and government didn't push it under the carpet like American police usually does by labelling the terrorist a lone wolf or someone going through a mental crisis. 

Sadly, none of this happened in Pakistan after a mob attacked the funeral of an Ahmadi Muslim grandma. The Government and the media ignored it as usual and law enforcement agencies conveniently made the victim at fault for what happened. The Ulemas issued Fatwas that it was the Ahmadis’ fault for trying to bury their loved one in her ancestral piece of land, because surely, Non Muslims cannot be buried with the Muslims. The same people who cry their eyes out against the injustices against Muslims being done in Palestine, Kashmir, the Rohingya, and the Uighurs—actively participate in violently persecuting Ahmadis in Pakistan. The Paksitani media that highlights Islamophobia in the west, conveniently ignores Ahmadiphobia in Pakistan. The government that's always eager to point out the double standard of the western governments turns a blind eye when it comes to Ahmadis in Pakistan.

The Canadian Muslim  family is laid to rest wrapped in deep red Canadian flags, while Pakistani Ahmadis are labeled as traitors, denying them even the white part of the flag.

1 comment

  • But for Indigenous Native Canadians, no Canadian can say that the country is being “taken over by immigrants.” Canada has actively recruited immigrants to its country for many decades (my own family members included), as they had a labor shortage and a lot of territory to cover. Apparently, it is the families of white immigrants who are complaining of the country being “taken over” by immigrants of color – even though those immigrants of color fill a huge void in the labor market. Canada is not for the faint of heart – due to its location, the winters start early and end late. Perhaps no one heard of the pleas for people to immigrate to Newfoundland or Labrador or Nova Scotia, particularly those who can provide certain services to the area. Canada is made up of immigrants – my family included.

    Sally Hahn

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