I am forwarding a message below. I am thinking of writing a column for DNR
condemning this attempted terrorist act. As a matter of fact, it will be
appropriate to say something on behalf of the PACS


From: Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Pakistani American Leadership
Center (PAL-C)
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 9:02 PM
To: Ahmed, Ehsan - ahmedex
Subject: PAL-C Condemns Attempted Attack on Times Square


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PAL-C Press Release

PAL-C Condemns Attack Attempt on Times Sq.
May 4, 2010


PAL-C Headquarters, Washington D.C., USA

Board of National Directors

Shoaib Kothawala      Najeeb Ghauri      Salim Adaya      Dr. Salman Naqvi

Mossadaq Chughtai      Pervaiz Lodhie      Dr. Rafiq Rahman    



PAL-C Condemns Attempted Attack on Times Square

Washington D.C., May 4, 2010 - The Pakistani American Leadership Center
(PAL-C) condemns the attempted vehicle bomb attack on Times Square. PAL-C
commends law enforcement and vigilant citizens (including a Senegalese
Muslim immigrant, Aliou Niasse, who first noticed the suspicious smoke
coming from the vehicle) for helping to prevent the plot and apprehend the
suspect. The Center also applauds the words of New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg who stated, 

"We will not be intimidated by those who hate the Freedoms that make this
city and this country so great. We will not tolerate any bias or backlash
against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers."

PAL-C also recommends the following article published today, partly in
response to the attempted attack:

Some of My Best Friends Are Pakistanis
by Ethan Casey 
SAN DIEGO, May 4 - As I write this, the news that the man arrested for
trying to blow up Times Square is a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin has
only begun to sink in. What is this going to mean for other U.S. citizens of
Pakistani origin - and for me, as their friend? 
This article's headline is an ironic allusion to something people used to
say to disavow bigotry: "Some of my best friends are Jews." It's also a
straight statement of fact: some of my best friends are Pakistanis. And I
want the world to know that, especially in these times and at this moment,
because I think it's very important for us to remember that not all U.S.
citizens of Pakistani origin blow stuff up. 
Assuming we're being told the truth about 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad of
Bridgeport, Connecticut, it might be fair to ask: With friends like these,
who needs enemies? But it's precisely because of the horrific misguidedness
of a dangerous few that we need to stay calm and remind ourselves and each
other that we're all in this together. I said exactly this, in fact, on
Sunday when I spoke in support of The Citizens Foundation (www.tcfusa.org
4ggw3T8PIMPYTy_1ksQ9Rw==> ) at the South Asian American Arts Festival put on
by Zanbeel Art at the Santa Monica Art Studios. I'll say it again tonight,
when I speak to the Pakistani Students Association at UC-San Diego. 
The Citizens Foundation is one of several well-run nonprofits supported by
the largely very suburban and middle-class Pakistani-American community that
are quietly doing the most urgently necessary work: providing education, and
thereby hope and self-respect, to the burgeoning young generation of the
Pakistani poor. Too quietly: groups like TCF-USA must start tooting their
own horns more assertively to the American public. I would go so far as to
say that countering the impression of Pakistanis conveyed by the likes of
Faisal Shahzad is not only an opportunity for the Pakistani-American
community, but an obligation. 
I'm not saying that Pakistani Americans have to prove that they're not
terrorists. The rest of us must remember that there is no such thing as
collective guilt, and that the presumption of innocence is a basic American
principle. I am saying that the existing institutions of Pakistani America
need to move - now - beyond inviting each other to the existing endless
round of charity fundraisers, worthy and useful as those are. Pakistani
Americans are a remarkably talented and resourceful community who pay a lot
of money to the U.S. Treasury in taxes and contribute very substantially to
American society as physicians, engineers, teachers and business people. For
better or worse, Americans listen to people who insist on being heard, and
if you don't toot your own horn, nobody else is gonna toot it for you. 
My writing and public speaking are all about emphasizing to Americans the
humanity of Pakistanis, their experience of and views on contemporary
history, the complexity of their political and geographical situation, and
the enjoyable and interesting apects of my own experience of Pakistan,
dating back to 1995. As my friend Todd Shea (www.shinehumanity.org
zZCJ2UBD_QtgOm5WWoPwKQ==> ) likes to say, Americans hear 2% of Pakistan's
story 98% of the time. I feel very fortunate to have experienced Pakistan
directly at a relatively innocent time both in history and in my own life,
before the country's name became a dirty word in the West. We can't go back
to that time, but we can remember it - and we can and should take a deep
breath, reach out to each other as allies, and work together to do what
needs to be done. 
What needs to be done? Young Pakistanis need to be given hope and
self-respect by way of education and jobs. This is already being done by The
Citizens Foundation, by Developments in Literacy (www.dil.org
iH629VEF8jk=> ) - at whose San Diego fundraiser I'll be speaking this
Saturday, May 8 - by the Human Development Foundation (www.hdf.com
3E9ZlYR2ONs=> ), by Pakistani pop star Shehzad Roy's Zindagi Trust
QLi1f3fhsxTpX-492tWlsg==> ), and famously by Greg Mortenson. 
But why is Greg Mortenson's the only one of these efforts that's well known?
Part of the answer, of course, is that he's white: church ladies and Oprah
watchers can relate to him as a virtual nephew or brother-in-law. This is
fine. But we need to get beyond the toxic supposition that America is
primarily a "white" and/or Christian country. It's not, anymore, and that's
a good thing. 
So the other thing that needs to be done is that the Pakistani community
needs to ratchet up both its involvement in American society and politics
and its visibility. Call up your local schools and churches, invite your
neighbors to your home, all that good stuff, and by all means enlist me,
Todd Shea, and Greg Mortenson as envoys. But also support Pakistani-American
and other Muslm candidates for public office; insist on meetings with
existing officeholders, not only but especially those you consider hostile
to Muslims or Pakistan; and support and expand the lobbying work of groups
like the Pakistani American Leadership Center (www.pal-c.org
w4T64HwKO24=> ) and the Council of Pakistan American Affairs
xOXlEibEbNlZ37YFkZj8EB0PGtcJqTuqBUGjejWt7RLRnHUurQNWxA==> ). Get in the
American public's face, as fellow Americans, and help us all begin having a
more honest conversation about Pakistan, America, terrorism, and where our
countries and world are headed. 
And I ask two things of my fellow non-Pakistani Americans: Go to the trouble
of educating yourselves about Pakistan - my books and inviting me to speak
are, indeed, good places to start. And, when you see pictures of Faisal
Shahzad over the coming days, keep in mind that, except for the buzz cut,
Tim McVeigh looked a lot like me. 
ETHAN CASEY is the author of the travel books Alive and Well in Pakistan: A
Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004) and Overtaken By Events: A Pakistan
Road Trip (2010). They are available online at
r93c5SJlLakPF22MBjJLtYU6MlL0iJdiOjFmdvypRlo=> , and he can be emailed at
[log in to unmask]

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American community. Please feel free to give us your feedback on the
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Taha A. Gaya <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 

Executive Director
Pakistani American Leadership Center



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