By Damir Rafi
An Irish Muslim willing to sacrifice his life for his new country; A second-generation Pakistani in diaspora embodying the American Dream; an Ahmadi emigrating to America due to violent persecution in his previous homeland; a doctor working abroad to provide for his family thousands of miles away.
Craig Considine’s new book, Islam, Race and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora is composed of many individual stories which weave together to form a beautiful illustration of the dangers of stereotyping and the nature of belonging. Having interviewed numerous Pakistanis living in the West, Considine tells their tales. This is an exploration into the human psyche, a journey into the minds and hearts of individuals outcasted due to their beliefs, skin colour and nationality.
The stories told are powerful, sometimes heartbreaking, but it is the unifying and beautiful ones that glow above the rest, providing islands of hope and optimism amidst the seemingly vast oceans of divisiveness and fear. Babar and Patrick, two friends who in their respective faiths see commonalities rather than divisions, visit each other’s places of worship. Reflecting upon his visit to Patrick’s church, Babar tells Considine:
“I don’t need to repeat what they’re saying. It’s important to just be part of them. Out of respect.”
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