Indian and Pakistani Immigrants Live Together Peacefully in America

June 1, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On June 1, 2002 The New York Times featured the article "The Distant Drums of War; In Queens, Indians and Pakistanis Live in Harmony" about the immigrant South Asian community in Queens, NY. "More than 200,000 Pakistani and Indian immigrants live in New York City, according to the latest census figures. And if the everyday rhythm of life on 74th Street, in the commercial center of the city's growing South Asian population, tells the tale of coexistence, theirs is a peaceful one... [But] there is worry, if not division, on 74th Street. There are longer lines to buy prepaid telephone cards to call home... There are lingering conversations about the conflict and concrete fears about the safety of relatives in India and Pakistan... A majority of Indians - and Indian immigrants in the city - are Hindu, although there are Muslim Indians who worship alongside Pakistanis in mosques here, as well as Christian Indians. Pakistanis are generally Muslim... While Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan are killing each other, here their differences seem eclipsed by the shared experiences of being an immigrant in New York City. They are South Asians in a foreign country, 'Desi,' as many in the younger generations say, using a Hindi word that means 'from my country' to refer to Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others from the Indian subcontinent... 'We've never had any problems between Indians and Pakistanis,' said Police Officer Colleen West... 'This is a big melting pot, this community. We have all nationalities and religions, customs, beliefs... And we never have any kind of problems. Everyone lives quite happily here' [she said]... 'Look at us'... Qazi Hussein, an immigrant from Lahore, Pakistan... said, gesturing toward the street. 'We work together - Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. We eat together. We have no problems. This Kashmiri cause, the time is over. The problem must be solved.'"