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


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.

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

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

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.