KARACHI: It is always saddening to see a good cause turn into something problematic when all it was meant to do was bring smiles to a few faces. On Sunday, the June 11th, Comedian Junaid Akram, known for his political views that he vlogs about on his social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Facebook, hosted an iftar drive and distributed food boxes in Jinnah Hospital, Karachi. As much as this drive was a good initiative by the comedian and gained much praise online, it pointed out a very upsetting mindset of our country that has been alive for a very long time, and only seems to grow: the discrimination against our religious minorities.
The people serving the people visiting the hospital belonged to the Christian community and upon learning this some of them refused to eat the food they were being served. It is very unfortunate, that even in 2017, such religious discrimination is rampant. And this bigotry is not only limited to the lower class of our society, as many would assume, but is also blatantly prevalent in our well-educated, privileged upper classes. It’s ironic that many of us choose to ignore such xenophobia at home, but are the first to call out Islamophobia in the West. How can we ignore the discrimination we are equally part of by staying silent and yet, raise our collective voices, loud and clear, against racism abroad?
Until and unless such a mindset changes, no matter how many social media campaigns we may unite for or how many roads we may construct in the name of development, we as a nation will never be able to progress.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2017.