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