A letter from a courageous Pakistani woman: "Pakistani viewpoint," in the Milpitas Post (thanks to Looney Tunes):
I was saddened to read the letter of Javed Altaf in the Milpitas Post dated Feb 2, "Text clashes extremist, moderate Hindus." As a woman from Pakistan who immigrated to the United States, I would like to tell everyone that there are people in Pakistan who do not show such hatred toward others.
I grew up in Pakistan and we were always taught to hate India, Israel and America. Our school books described Christians, Jews and Hindus as evil people, and unfortunately most Pakistanis exhibit a lot of hatred because of this. I was ashamed when Pakistanis celebrated on the streets after innocent people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. Even when I got my passport, I had to sign a statement on the application form that I consider the leader of Qadiani group of Muslims to be an imposter and his followers to be non-Muslim. I felt uncomfortable signing it as I somehow thought it is a hateful thing to do. To all Qadiani brothers and sisters, I wish to apologize on behalf of Pakistanis and say I am truly sorry I signed the statement.
Fortunately, I had the chance to leave Pakistan and find freedom in America. Now, I do not have to cover myself with a burqa.
I learned that one can be a good person even without being a Muslim and I got the confidence to question Islam. Islam is an artificial religion of medieval Arabs. Why should I accept any religion that forces me to wear a burqa and prevents my education?
Mr. Altaf's letter talks about caste system in India. I want to point out that the caste system is alive and well in Pakistan as well. It is hypocritical of Pakistanis to talk of a caste system.
The people of Pakistan are no different from the people of India except that we are born into Islam. This unfortunate difference gave birth to Pakistan, which has the dishonor of being created as the world's first religion-based country. We should never have left India because forming a country based on religion tells the world that we are hateful people. Please tell your readers that not all Pakistanis are hateful people.
Ironically, my own life has been one where the differences between Indians and Pakistanis have been buried. After leaving Islam, I searched for spiritual peace and met a wonderful man who is a Hindu from India. Today, he is my husband and I find that I have a lot of freedom. Women in Islam do not have any freedom and four women are considered to be equal to one man. I realize that I would not have had the opportunity to meet my husband had I not come to America and got my freedom. There are many women like me who long for freedom. I sincerely wish I could do something for my sisters or that America would liberate my sisters but without hurting the people.