By Shazia Hobbs
I recently watched a ten minute clip of a ‘discussion’ on some news channel featuring three Pakistani men, the voices of the Muslims in the UK. I forced myself to watch some more featuring others in the public eye. No wonder Islam is a laughing joke in the UK if these ‘discussions’ are what the mainstream media is showing. Most of what I have been watching is from a few years back and most of it is full of angry voices.
The men, who shall remain nameless, are a bloody disgrace. Shouting at each other, resorting to personal attacks that have absolutely nothing to do with the discussion and, in turn, making the discussion into a farce. Nothing is resolved. The questions still remain unanswered, with no solutions forthcoming.
Pakistani men, from birth, are treated like kings at home; they are the much-desired son, the ‘ladla’ – darling. The birth of a boy in a Pakistani home is a celebration. Mollycoddled and waited on hand and foot all their lives is the future for many of these darling sons.
That has to affect their mentality and their sense of worth, surely? Imagine a life where, from birth, you are treated as a king, and everyone idolises you. Growing up you are allowed more freedom than is given to your sisters sounds good, doesn’t it?
I do have some sympathy for some of the Pakistani men though. The outside world must be a scary place for them, a world where their word is not gospel. A world where they are not treated as kings. The women at home may never question their judgement but in the real word people will disagree with them and not everyone will think they are wonderful.
Watching, some, Pakistani men discuss subjects they disagree on can be frustrating I have discovered, and after this article I may never do it again. I was actually embarrassed watching some clips and only managed five minutes or so before I had to switch off only because they sounded like little boys arguing in the playground. Treated like kings at home by their mothers and behaving like spoilt brats on the television. They had a chance to show that Islam is a religion of peace and they chose to argue, showing instead that they cannot even get along, peacefully and respectfully.
The hate and resentment between Pakistani men in the public eye is embarrassing. You only have to log onto Twitter and follow some threads and cringe. Grown men interacting like angry teenagers for the entire world to see. The unhealthy sense of entitlement is easy to witness in many Pakistani men who are active on social media and in the public eye.
As a woman of Pakistani heritage I have witnessed first hand the difference in treatment shown towards boys and girls in Pakistani families and the wider community. So I know it is pointless to debate the boys on social media, they will rarely back down and admit a girl is making a valid point. They would rather slander and hurl abuse at those who dare to stand up to them and question their word.
Some of these men have grown up with mothers who have only ever cooked and cleaned and had babies. Any girls born into the family would have the same fate as the mother and their place would be at home. Their immediate family may also have similar traditions and cultures. They are not used to Pakistani women calling them out on their ‘bakwas’ – nonsense. The women in their family keep quiet, they have no voice and few rights and for men from these kinds of families dealing with a strong Pakistani woman is not something they are used to. It is easier to show contempt and hate than have a reasonable debate and listen to a woman’s point of view.
The blame doesn’t lie entirely with Pakistani men though and mothers have to take their share of the responsibility. The sense of entitlement can only be erased when boys are raised as equals to girls and not treated like kings who can do no wrong.
Shazia Hobbs is the author of The Gori’s Daughter, her debut novel, and is currently writing her next novel, The Gori. Shazia is a full-time mum and her days are spent doing the school run, after-school activities, cooking, cleaning and walking the dog. Somewhere in between all of these chores she finds the time to write.
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