Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Story of New York's Little Pakistan Since 911

Little Pakistan, a tiny community of Pakistani immigrants located just a few miles away from the World Trade Center, drew a lot of negative attention when the twin towers came crashing down in September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The tragic events of 911 sparked a wave of Islamophobia in America as Muslim and Pakistani immigrants became the latest victims in this nation's long history of persecution of religious and ethnic minorities at different points in the past. Earlier targets of such bigotry included native Americans, Blacks, Jews, Germans, Japanese and various Christian sects like Mormons and Quakers.

Little Pakistan in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Little Pakistan is a section of Brooklyn that is home to the largest Pakistani immigrant community in New York City. It was primarily a Jewish neighborhood before the Pakistanis chose it as their home away from home.

Soon after 911, US immigration and law enforcement officials, looking at its Pakistani Muslim immigrants in this neighborhood with great suspicion, began a massive crackdown that induced widespread fear and terror among the residents and drove many from their homes.

At the height of the sweep, over 20,000 people in Brooklyn’s South Asian communities left the United States, a COPO survey found, according to Gotham Gazette, a New York City publication. Many sought political asylum in Canada and Australia, and some returned to Pakistan and other countries. A number of them never returned. Many had their legitimate US immigration applications pending at the time. Others had their cases in immigration courts and they were waiting for disposition by judges.

A year after 911, the newly created Department of Homeland Security launched a special registration system, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System or NSEER, requiring male citizens over 16 years of age from 25 countries -- mostly Muslim countries in Africa and Asian -- to register with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although the system was terminated in April 2011, many law-biding Pakistani immigrants fell victim to it, according to Gotham Gazette.

"Before 911, you used to see hundreds of people walking on the streets," said Nadeem speaking to Gotham Gazette. Nadeem is now a store owner of a grocery store at the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Glenwood Road. "The FBI came knocking on people’s doors and asking questions. People were scared. Business dropped more than 50 percent."

Fifteen years later, the residents of Little Pakistan are still haunted by the nightmare of 911.  But life appears to be slowly returning to normal, according to media reports. Some of those who fled are coming back. New Pakistani immigrants are also starting to come into the neighborhood.  Pakistani food and clothing stores are doing brisk business as are the restaurants, beauty parlors and barber shops.

Off course, this could all change if Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee who has called for a Muslim ban in America, becomes the next president of the United States.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American Demographics

Islamophobia in America

Donald Trump's Muslim Ban

Silicon Valley Pakistanis

8 comments:

Pakistani said...

Atleast The Donald says what's in his mind and popular assertion that most Terrorists are Muslims. We in Pak say the same about Afghans and dont want afghans immigrating to Pakistan, so why cant the US do the same?

On (crooked) Hillary, she will be a nightmare for Pakistan as was her husband and Obama and will have good relations with india.

The republicans were always friendly towards Pak and things would improve for Pak.



Anonymous said...

Republicans are beholden to big oil(India is the world's third largest and fastest growing major customer) and the arms industry(India is the world's largest buyer). If you think Obama is pro India wait for The Donald.There is a reason the Hindu right is publicly praying for his victory.

r_sundar said...

NY is still million times safer for Muslims, than in Pakistan.
Most of them going underground was after FBI began catching illegal migrants and sending them back.
The most unfortunate are Skihs who having nothing to do with this, getting caught in the crossfire.
Trump is still in beating distance of Hillary, because he doesn't care to be politically correct.

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: "NY is still million times safer for Muslims, than in Pakistan."

No, not Pakistan. Indian occupied Kashmir is definitely more unsafe for Muslims than New York and many other places around the world.

Young Muslim men and women are being blinded, injured and killed everyday by 700,000 Indian soldiers brutally occupying their land

Since mid-July, when the current wave of protests against the Indian military presence started, more than 570 patients have reported to Srinagar’s main government hospital with eyes ruptured by lead pellets, sometimes known as birdshot, fired by security forces armed with pump-action shotguns to disperse crowds.

The patients have mutilated retinas, severed optic nerves, irises seeping out like puddles of ink. “Dead eyes,” the ophthalmology department’s chief calls them.


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/29/world/asia/pellet-guns-used-in-kashmir-protests-cause-dead-eyes-epidemic.html?_r=0



Posted by Riaz Haq to Haq's Musings at September 12, 2016 at 1:18 PM

Riaz Haq said...

Why are #Muslim immigrants in #America assimilating so quickly? Abandoning beliefs? Leaving faith? #Islamophobia

http://www.newsweek.com/why-are-muslim-immigrants-assimilating-so-quickly-511292?rx=us


In my column last week, I demonstrated using surveys mostly from Gallup and Pew Research Center that Muslim-Americans are rapidly abandoning beliefs widely held in their native countries and adopting the more liberal social and political beliefs of other Americans.

But what’s even more remarkable about this fact is that this transition has occurred at the same time that Muslim immigration has ramped up. In other words, immigration is not detracting from those changes and may even be contributing to them.

While the number of Muslim immigrants and their children doubled from 2007 to 2015—from 1.4 million to 2.7 million—the native Muslim population fell by more than a third—from about 917,000 to 594,000. This provides evidence that the immigrants themselves are taking part in the recent changes.

I’ll just give a couple of examples for which I have data for both 2007 and 2014. Figure 2 compares the rate of acceptance of homosexuality among Muslim immigrants and their children with the rate of acceptance among all Muslims, while also tracking the number of Muslim immigrants in the United States.

Pew did not report the breakdown of acceptance of homosexuality by nativity in 2014, but as Figure 2 shows, their views tracked the changes in those for all Muslims in 2007 and 2011—a 12 percent increase for both.

Given this departure from the strict reading of the Koran, we would expect that many Muslims in the United States may have adjusted their views on Islam’s scripture.

Pew found in 2007 that 50 percent of U.S. Muslims favored taking a “literal” interpretation of the holy book, while 33 percent opposed doing so. By 2014, the literalists had dropped 8 points, and the non-literalists rose 10 points, as seen in Figure 2.


Here’s another significant point of equal significance: These changes do not include those who abandoned Islam, and it’s safe to assume that these are the people who are likely to be the most liberal.

Thus, these surveys probably under-represent the level of liberalization among people who were raised Muslim or among immigrants who first arrived in the country as Muslim because they exclude those people who defected from the faith in adulthood or after their arrival in the United States.

This phenomenon is very significant. In 2014, 23 percent of all U.S. residents raised in Muslim households had left their religion, according to Pew. Another estimate placed the share at 32 percent. Two small surveys found that the number of Iranian Americans who identify as Muslim dropped from 42 percent to 31 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Based on Pew’s 2011 survey of Muslims in America, this number may actually be at the high end. Using American Community Survey data, the numbers imply that the actual share is more likely about 22 percent. Estimates of the effect of “Muslim” immigration on the religious or political makeup of the United States would be highly misleading if it ignored this group.

The bottom line is that very large increases in the Muslim population in the United States due to immigration have not stalled assimilation of those immigrants. Rather, they are demonstrating Americans’ incredible capacity to encourage immigrants to adopt their ways.

Riaz Haq said...

In Little #Pakistan, #NewYorkCity, all shops, restaurants shut, streets like a ghost town on #DayWithoutImmigrants
http://www.thedailymeal.com/news/eat/now-what-restaurants-open-again-after-day-without-immigrants-protest/021717

Mom and pop restaurants and national chains like McDonald’s shuttered their locations yesterday after national protests
Yesterday, hundreds of restaurants around the country closed in solidarity with the Day Without Immigrants movement that sparked protests and job walkouts around the country. We’ve already highlighted several mom and pop restaurants and fine-dining eateries around the country that closed, but multiple McDonald’s locations shuttered for the day as well, in a move that could very well affect the chain’s quarterly sales.

"The purpose of the protest is to show just how disruptive immigration changes by the government could impact consumers' everyday life," Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, a research and consulting firm for the food service industry, told CNBC. "For McDonald's franchisees and company stores, it is likely best to close the restaurant versus trying to manage the restaurant with an inadequate service staff. Although many customers will see this is an inconvenience, many will understand."

In large cities around the nation, the absence of immigrants, from more than just the Hispanic community, was greatly felt. In a Pakistani neighborhood in Midwood, Brooklyn, all shops and restaurants were closed and the streets looked like a ghost town, according to the New York Times. Philadelphia’s Italian market was deserted, and even a coffee shop inside the Senate in Washington, D.C. was not open, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But now what? Although many restaurant owners shut their doors or only offered limited service in support of their employees, the industry is looking at a full day’s loss of profits which could cause financial troubles for smaller restaurants and caf├ęs

Nation’s Restaurant News put together a legal guide for restaurant owners and managers on how to handle employees who did not show up to work yesterday. A legal email alert from law firm Fisher Phillips told employers to consult their legal counsel before taking any disciplinary action, give workers a chance to explain, disallow slowdowns, and not “spy on” protesting staff in public with recording equipment.

Riaz Haq said...

Fighting for the Immigrants of Little Pakistan
The Brooklyn neighborhood persevered after 9/11. Can it survive in the age of Trump?

By Jennifer Gonnerman

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/26/fighting-for-the-immigrants-of-little-pakistan


after the Inauguration of Donald Trump, this past January, people in the neighborhood panicked. Razvi started receiving ten or fifteen calls a day from Pakistanis who worried that law enforcement would round up every immigrant who was in the country illegally, and that anti-Muslim hate crimes would escalate, as they had in the fall of 2001. In February, a friend told Razvi that her husband, a cabdriver, had been threatened by another driver, who was wielding a bat and shouting something about Trump. Razvi feared for neighborhood residents, and especially families like the Khans. Recalling the era after 9/11, he said, “I think what’s happening is, it’s ripping those wounds open again.”


New York City officials calculate that seventy-three thousand Pakistanis live in the five boroughs, though the true number is likely much higher. The largest concentration resides in and around Little Pakistan. On Coney Island Avenue, between Newkirk Avenue and Avenue H, men stroll down the sidewalk in shalwar kameez, and newspaper boxes are filled with copies of the Pakistan Post and the Urdu Times.


-----

This past February, twelve days after Trump’s Inauguration, Razvi sat in his office, where an enormous American flag covers the wall behind his desk. “Today, guess who comes to see me,” he said, holding up a white folder labelled “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” A woman from ice’s community-relations office had stopped by to introduce herself and to leave the folder, which contained promotional materials. Razvi said that he told her, referring to ice, “I’ll be blunt—people hate you.” But he took note of one flyer, about the ice Detention Reporting and Information Line, and pulled it out to make copies. “I never had this before,” he said. Now, if he heard that an immigrant had disappeared, he would know what number to call first.

Razvi tried to hide his fears about immigration raids, he told me, “because if I show the worry it’s going to be a ripple effect.” False rumors were spreading through Little Pakistan, including one about immigration agents making arrests at the Church Avenue subway station. Strangers were approaching him on the street, to tell him that they were concerned about their legal status and to beg for his help. One Sunday, he spoke to men at a local mosque about what to do if a law-enforcement agent stopped them: “We want you to stay quiet. Say, ‘I won’t answer any more questions until I speak to an attorney.’ ”

Riaz Haq said...

Can #NewYork's Little #Pakistan Survive #Trump? Inside A Family's Fight to Stop Their Deportation https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/21/can_brooklyns_little_pakistan_survive_trump … via @democracynow


Can Brooklyn's Little Pakistan Survive Trump? Inside One Family's Fight to Stop Their Deportation

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/21/can_brooklyns_little_pakistan_survive_trump

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Can the Brooklyn neighborhood of Little Pakistan survive the presidency of Donald Trump? That’s the question posed by a new piece in The New Yorker magazine. Writer Jennifer Gonnerman looks, in part, at the story of Shahid Ali Khan and his family, who are facing possible deportation. For years, they successfully received stays of removal, but this year appears to be different. On July 6, they have a meeting scheduled at the ICE enforcement and removal field office. That meeting could determine if the family can stay in the United States.

We’re joined now by two guests. Mohammad Razvi is founding executive director of Council of Peoples Organization. And we’re joined by Jennifer Gonnerman, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, who’s written the piece, "Fighting for the Immigrants of Little Pakistan."

Jennifer, talk about this extremely poignant story of this family, who came to this country to save the life of their baby boy.

JENNIFER GONNERMAN: Right, they’re an—it’s an extraordinary story. The Khans came in 1997, two parents and a baby, who was not yet two. The father was a bank manager in Pakistan. He gave up everything, because his son was born with a heart defect and needed surgery that couldn’t be gotten in Pakistan. He looked into various countries to come to, ultimately got a visa to come to the United States, came to Brooklyn, went from one hospital to another, ultimately ends up at Mount Sinai. And when his son is 2 years old, he gets open heart surgery there.

AMY GOODMAN: Here in New York City, Mount Sinai.

JENNIFER GONNERMAN: Exactly, exactly. And then, as a consequence of that surgery, the son ends up suffering a very rare movement disorder, which he is unable to control his limbs, can’t eat, can’t feed himself, can’t walk, needs a feeding tube, wheelchair. And the family has no choice but to stay. So even after their visa runs out, they try to get, you know, an extension, and they stay here and continue to get medical treatment for their son. And over the next years, the son makes terrific progress. He’s now walking, though not too steadily. He talks a little bit, not too easy to understand. But his progress has been tremendous. And the family continues to get treated at Mount Sinai and elsewhere.

AMY GOODMAN: And they say he will not be able to proceed like this or progress, if he is forced out.

JENNIFER GONNERMAN: His doctors say that the treatment he needs—he’s got a number of very complicated and unusual medical conditions, and the support system that he has here, he will not have if he’s sent back to Pakistan. I had heard about the family because it’s somebody that Mr. Razvi had helped in the past, post-9/11, and somebody he was very proud of helping and being able to stop their deportation many years into the past. And then I happened to be in his office—it was about a week or two ago—finishing up this story for The New Yorker, and suddenly here comes Mr. Khan, completely despondent, straight from the ICE office and coming to Mr. Razvi’s office for help, and told us that he was at risk of deportation.