In ‘Little Pakistan,’ Hopes for Peace
By Amol Sharma

In the “Little Pakistan” neighborhood of Midwood, in Brooklyn, NY, the owner of Pakiza Restaurant was prepping for lunch — lentils, lamb kebabs, chicken biryani — as patrons wandered in to catch the inauguration ceremonies. Seven spectators, including the owner, watched a flat-screen TV hanging above the front counter, showing a Pakistani news channel via satellite. An update flashed across the screen in Urdu about the estimated size of the crowd — two million.
“We hope Obama can bring peace with Muslims,” said Tariq Butt, a 40-year-old taxi driver, during the Rev. Rick Warren’s invocation. “They are being killed all over the world — in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Palestine.”
The little crowd was riveted by the proceedings, remaining mostly quiet through the various musical interludes and introductions. A customer near Mr. Butt advised him on how the process would work — that Mr. Obama would be sworn in on a Bible and “everyone would be happy.” Mr. Butt noticed that Mr. Obama was introduced as “Barack H. Obama.” He said, “That is a formality today. Otherwise he likes to say his full name: Hussein”—which in fact was used when Mr. Obama was sworn in. The swearing-in drew applause and cheers, and more customers strolled in and stopped to watch as Mr. Obama began his remarks.
During the part of the speech when Mr. Obama talked about treating Muslims with respect, heads began nodding. Mr. Butt began tearing up and wiped his eyes. “We are hoping he will do good things,” he said. “Bush did bad behavior with Muslims for eight years.”  Courtesy  Wall Street Journal



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.