“Little Pakistan” To Be Co-Named After Founder Of Pakistan

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Here’s how the street signs would look like. (Photo via PAYO)

DITMAS PARK – The Coney Island Avenue strip between Avenues C and H, also known as “Little Pakistan,” will be co-named “Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way,” after the founder of Pakistan.

“This is a really great achievement of the Pakistani-American community,” Shahid Khan, member of Community Board 14 and Pakistani American Youth Organization (PAYO) said. “Presently where we are struggling within our community, we really achieved this milestone. This is community integration in process.”

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, also referred to as Quaid-e-Azam, is still idolized by Pakistanis today. When Great Britain left India after controlling it for over three centuries, it left a place where Muslims and Hindus were in conflict.

Jinnah pushed for a separate country, a Muslim dominated Pakistan. On August 14, 1947, India was finally partitioned. But it was met with intense bloodshed and a great migration of people. Indian Muslims headed to a new free country – Pakistan, but many people were murdered along the way. Women were raped, men were dismembered, and villages were set on fire. About 15 million people were displaced and grieving.

But still, Jinnah had hope.

“My message to you all is of hope, courage, and confidence. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with the grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation,” he had said in the past.

To honor the man, efforts were taken by various individuals and organizations in the Brooklyn Muslim community, including PAYO for several years to get the street co-named. In fact, according to Khan, the process began before September 11, 2001. But efforts were halted after the “Pakistani community was stigmatized, marginalized, and targeted,” he said.

Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

Waqil Ahmed, president of PAYO, echoed the sentiment and spoke about the Islamophobia the community has had to endure. He said the co-naming was the “first step to bringing change within the community” as it holds a sentimental value that allows “all Pakistani-Americans to find a home within another home.”

“As a team, PAYO observes ‘Little Pakistan’ to feel segregated, as if they are intruders not only to the community but also the country,” Ahmed said. “PAYO wants to break cultural barriers, get rid of Islamophobia, and have a fusion of nationalities and culture.”

“Over the years, the community has tremendously grown,” he said. “The street co-naming is going to bring the community closer, strengthen relationships within other ethnicities.”

The resolution, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, was passed by the NYC Council last week. An official ceremony will be held later this month. Khan attributes this victory to the Pakistani youth.

“The second generation is more aware, more active, and more educated. That’s why things were done successfully,” Khan said. “Youth is the architect of any nation. I believe each generation should live better than the last.”

Waqil Ahmed (middle) at a PAYO press conference. (Photo via PAYO)

Kashif Hussain, a community activist who ran for District Leader and lost, says his run (and the fact that he got close to 8,000 votes) may have made a difference – the community is finally being taken seriously, he said.

“The resources and requests like co-naming the street are being brought to the community,” he said. “It’s a sign of good things to come in the future for South Asian communities. Our work for the betterment of the community continues.”

Hussain believes it’s about time “Little Pakistan” was co-named.

“Elected officials have made a lot of promises over the years but nothing really big happened,” he said. “As a community leader and a political candidate, this is making me more dedicated and motivated to keep fighting for more causes and deficiencies in our neighborhood and district.”

Council Member Jumaane Williams agreed: “It’s vital that communities see themselves, their culture, and their cultural leaders represented. Co-naming Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way is an important recognition of the Pakistani community and its contributions- both in Brooklyn and throughout New York City.”

“I thank my colleagues for supporting this effort and the community groups who helped make it possible. Next up- Little Pakistan!”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I definitely support this. Now we need to get Little Haiti to transition back to Little Caribbean to stop Rodneyse Bichotte’s divide and concur tactic she is disgustingly using to try to control votes by attempting to divide our Haitian Brothers and Sisters from the rest of their Caribbean Brothers and Sisters.

  2. I do not see how members of the Jewish community can support this because Mohammad Ali Jinnah stated that “Every man and woman of the Muslim world will die before Jewry seizes Jerusalem.” More division and more separation within the entire community.

  3. I am not a fan of the one-sided history of this article. When Britain arrived in India it found a place where Hindus and Muslims had been in conflict FOR AROUND 1000 YEARS (Muhammad Qasim, Mohmud of Ghazni, Muhamad of Ghori, Dehli Sultanate, Mughal empire, Timurlane) since the first Muslim invasions, and frequent jihads, ‘Razzias’, massacres and temple desecrations. Pakistan has continued, engaging in war several times since partition, over Kashmir and against the population of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who had to seek support from India.

    It is a shame for any “stigma, marginalization, and targeting,” suffered by the Pakistani community. How do you propose to prevent this from taking place, when and where it does?

    Do the Pakistani community respect freedom of conscience and (for example) welcome ex-Muslims as their brothers and sisters? Do they accept women of the Muslim community marrying non-Muslims or indeed those not of their parent’s choosing? Jinnah’s Pakistan became a sharia-dominated nightmare for non-Muslims, as evidenced by the rapidly shrinking proportion of the population they comprise.

    Acknowledging these issues and their theocratic roots in the quran, hadith, example of Mohammed and Muslim history would go a long way to establishing trust and seeking a route out of the mess (if that is possible). Also acknowledging the serious examples of false-claims of victimisation that have been uncovered. Ignoring all of this can be predicted to bring bad things.

    But of course for some, cultural diversity is so sought after, that people now refuse to question the nature of the diversity or support those asking the difficult questions necessary to achieve real mutual respect. IMHO such is the path to catastrophe.

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