Bean Boozled Gross Jelly Bean Challenge!

Lifestyle

Hello everyone! I hope you have a lovely week ahead. I hope you enjoy watching me consume “vomit” and “booger” flavored jelly beans because trust me, it was not fun to film. My stomach is too weak to handle these things.

This week has been pretty hectic, with me attending a spectacular Atif Aslam and Sonu Nigam concert last Friday to blow of steam after a tough exam that afternoon. On the way back, my friend’s car got hit by a truck, while I was a front passenger. Thankfully, neither of us had any injuries worse than huge bruises. I shall write a post about the experience in the future.

Islamophobia Discussion Shines Light on Hasty Fear

Thoughts

On Wednesday at the University of Houston, the Urdu Baithak student organization and Indus Arts Council held their largest event of the semester, “Islamophobia,” to discuss the prevalence of anti-Islamic thoughts in modern culture.

The event took place in the Kiva Room in Farish Hall and featured Jibran Nasir, a prominent Pakistani lawyer and political activist. The event commenced at 4:40 p.m. with Nasir showing an audience of approximately 30 people “Reclaiming Pakistan,” a documentary about his political activism since 2014.

“Muslims are thought to be the masterminds behind planes being hijacked and crashing into buildings,” Nasir said. “The world’s most popular airlines are Emirates, Etihad and Qatar from the Middle East, and Westerners are very comfortable flying in those, knowing that even when they take off, all the announcements are made in Arabic.”

Nasir said things are different on a U.S.-based airliner.

“If someone were to make the similar announcement to him, reading the Quran or exchanging greetings on Southwest or United Airlines, they will be thrown out of the plane,” Nasir said.

Blindly fear thy neighbor

Nasir is known for his youth outreach on nonviolence and combating Islamophobia.

As a result of myriad political scandals and terrorist acts such as the Peshawar attack in Pakistan, Nasir has been committed to eradicate extremist violence. He co-founded social welfare organizations such as Elaj Trust, Pakistan For All and Never Forget Pakistan.

Nasir discussed that although the media portray Islam in a negative light, Muslims and non-Muslims are guilty of being ignorant. He said that Muslims don’t know enough about their religion and non-Muslims don’t make the effort to research about what Islam actually preaches.

Most Muslims rely on the interpretation presented by clerics that Nasir said can possibly be biased.

“You see anchors sitting and speculating that once an attack has happened and a person is found to be Muslim, it becomes more about his religion than his socioeconomic circumstances,” Nasir said. “The question will immediately go to ‘Which mosque did he go to?’”

Nasir added that while Muslims are obliged to condemn an attack after it occurs, the Pope doesn’t defend all Christian Catholics when a Christian commits a crime. Muslims are often considered guilty unless proven innocent, Nasir said, and to mitigate the extent of Islamophobia they must be compassionate and increase their tolerance to criticism.

“Personally, I am just going to get out there and talk to people about being involved, the same way that he does, but in Pakistan,” Public relations junior Mehreen Arshad said. “I think the best way to be the best representative that you can be is to talk to people about their problems.”

A sentiment needs changing

As Nasir’s discussion continued, the audience became more engaged.

Some asked questions, and Nasir responded with information gathered from his research and personal experience. He said it isn’t always the religion that preaches violence, but a violent person can make their religion violent because they incorporate their behavior with their faith.

“People tend to generalize each other, and one of the things that my family does that they think is innocuous is they will see someone who is covered or someone who is dark-skinned and say ‘That man is Arab’,” Environmental studies senior Oscar Lázaro said.

Lázaro then took initiative to reshape his parents’ perspective.

“I finally corrected my parents and told them, ‘Well, that person may not be Arab, and if they are Muslim at all, you have no way of knowing what sect they are in or what their beliefs are, or if they are homophobic as you presume them to be,” Lázaro said.

Urdu Baithak will host an event with Nasir at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Athletics/Alumni Center. The event will be in the Urdu language for native speakers.

Nasir will continue his tour to multiple universities across the country once he concludes his event at UH.

Acid Attack Victim Models at NY Fashion Week

Lifestyle

Meet Reshma Qureshi, a young 19-year-old who survived a harrowing experience that she will never forget.

In 2014, as Reshma and her elder sister walked to school in their hometown in Uttar Pradesh, India, her brother-in-law and his friends grabbed Reshma and poured corrosive acid on her face in an attempt to avenge a family dispute. That’s not the worst part. The two sisters were wearing burqas, so Reshma was accidentally assaulted instead of her sister. Regardless, since when has this been a way to get payback? The wounds were not limited to Reshma’s facial skin. They were visceral. The poor girl lost an eye and was literally scarred for life, in the worst way imaginable. 

Initially a vulnerable, depressed, and suicidal girl, Reshma was found by Ria Sharma, founder of the non-governmental organization “Make Love Not Scars.” Ria’s compassionate personality and genuine interest in impacting lives was enough to help Reshma discover a newfound perspective on the beauty of life. Now, Reshma is a confident young woman who strives to ensure this injustice is not done with anyone else. She is no longer afraid to roam the streets without covering her face with a veil. Last week, Reshma was told that she will be walking the ramp in New York’s Fashion Week. Her reaction was poignant and absolutely priceless.

Acid attacks are widespread in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Columbia, etc. Every day, at least one girl’s life is ruined, or worse…is killed by these devastating attacks.

Why would someone commit such a horrendous act, you ask?

A majority of these perpetrators are uneducated men who:

  • Think this is a great tactic for revenge
  • Cannot take no for an answer by a girl they wish to pursue
  • Can’t deal with the fact that their wives are more attractive than them
  • Need to take anger management classes
  • Have to learn about a virtue called “forgiveness”

With concentrated acid being widely available to the common person for less than $1 in these countries (for cleaning purposes), we need to act fast to mitigate (if not eradicate) the situation. Please sign this petition to ban the sale of acid to just about anyone on the street.

Find out more about Reshma’s story in the video below.

*This video may be a little hard to watch, as the images are a bit graphic.

The Day After the End of Time

Self

It was December 21, 2012. I woke up at the dusk of dawn hyperventilating from a nightmare, my body aching with shooting pains accompanied by the sensation of my brain throbbing against my skull. Apart from my own discomfort, something was terribly wrong and my conscience was not permitting me to believe otherwise. The city of Los Angeles was in turmoil knowing all the prophecies of doomsday associated with the date 12.21.12 but my family did not raise me to believe in such notions. I was a firm believer in science. Then why was I feeling this way?

I went about my normal day trying to remain oblivious to the local gossip, refusing to worry about something I knew was not going to happen. The more I went along with this attitude, the stranger the events seemed to me. At noon, I could hear the tides of the Hermosa beach in front of my home crashing vigorously as the ground began to tremble and break in ripples like an unsteady pond. My parents and younger sister began shrieking my name. Our first instinct was to bolt outside before our abode crumbled to pieces on us. Upon reaching the beach, we met with a tide higher than anything I had ever seen, enveloping us with a shadow so dark as if it were about to consume us. My family and I held hands and prayed. Whatever happened, we would be in it together. We thought there was no possible measure we could take, but to wait for the colossal tsunami to hit us while we still had our dignity and solidarity.

I knew what was about to happen. This was no ordinary earthquake on the San Andreas fault. The Mayans were right about their Mayan Long Count calendar and I was a fool. This was the last earthquake, larger than any Richter scale could measure. This ‘earthquake’ would wipe out all life forms as we knew it. But this didn’t happen quite as it should have. Here I am telling you my story. My family and others somehow managed to make it out safely. No life would be worth living without them, and they are my saviors.

We are survivors.