With NYC city in the midst of a fractious debate about whether an Islamic center and mosque should be built near ground zero, and the country closely following the twists and turns of a Florida pastor’s threat to burn copies of the Quran- the “Indo Pak Express” closed down the US Open on the eve of Sept. 11 with a message of peace and solidarity.
Pakistani, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and India’s, Rohan Bopanna, have been playing tennis together since 2003, and have forged an alliance to create a message of peace through sportsmanship. “The Indo-Pak Express,” as they call it — really gathered steam earlier this year when they started wearing sweat shirts with slogans reading “Stop War, Start Tennis” as part of a campaign backed by a group called Peace and Sport.
After a two set loss, Qureshi took to the microphone and stated: “There’s a bad perception that Pakistan is a terrorist nation,” Qureshi told the crowd in 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium. “We’re a friendly, loving, caring people. We want peace as much as you guys. May God bless us all.”
Following the match, the ambassadors of the two nations met and conveyed goodwill toward each others nations. “It’s the message it sends that India and Pakistan are playing on the same side,” said India’s ambassador, Hardeep Puri.
The time has come for Islam in the West to become Islam of the West, and put the last nine years of madness and suffering in the past, according to the president of the İslamic society of Britain (İSB).
Zahoor Qureshi spoke alongside five other British Muslim representatives at Bahçeşehir University last week, saying their visit is important for sharing ideas, seeking advice and engaging in discussions about the radicalization of Muslims in the West. “We want people like ourselves who live in Britain and people like yourselves who are no doubt European, to play a role in what the EU decides about its future and what Britain decides about its future,” said Aftab Ahmad Malik, a visiting fellow at Birmingham University.
Regarding the criticism that the Muslim faith has received since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Malik said at no point did Muslim councils agree with what happened. “The British government and the Muslim community in Britain have decided that it is better if we can engage and it is better if we can talk,” said Malik.
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Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Spanish authorities had concrete evidence against the nine Pakistani nationals arrested for planning terrorist attacks in Spain and Europe. “The Spanish investigators have solid evidence against nine of the twelve Pakistanis arrested in Barcelona. The material used in the blast was recovered from them,” said Qureshi, in a meeting with the Senate. The twelve men were detained in mid-January of this year, and authorities believe they had been planning to carry out attacks similar to the Madrid bombings. Three suspects were released on account of no evidence against them, but nine remain in Spanish custody.