Hijab, Santa and the Christmas spirit

Being asked to photograph Christmas as part of an interfaith assignment was a fantastic experience for me!

Tuba Kazmi December 29, 2010
Earlier this month my class mates and I were given an assignment on interfaith awareness between Muslims and Christians. Over the past decade the two communities have not had very warm relations especially since after 9/11.

My friends and I felt nervous about this task as we had never interacted with a member of the Christian faith before. We were oblivious to what their traditions were and how they would react to us. I was particularly panicky because I wear a veil and hijaab. Will they even talk to me, I wondered. Our project required that we take photographs of a church, prayer ceremony and have a dialogue with a religious leader.

My friends and I went to Saint Anthony's Church in the Clifton area of Karachi. After we gave the head of the church, Joaquim, a letter from our university explaining the project he arranged a meeting with Father Roby for us.

The father was very pleased to hear about our project. He spoke to us respectfully and answered all of our questions. He invited  us to come to church and meet him any time. He assured us that he will help us in every possible way regarding our project.

On Christmas we had to go to church again to take pictures that showed how Christians celebrated the holiday. We entered the church, without prior notice but everyone was happy to see us. Joaquim let us stay for Christmas service and invited us to attend a party for the children on December 26. We were amazed at how warm and welcoming everyone was at the party. We were permitted to take pictures of everyone - including Santa Claus!

This experience was a great experience for me and my friends. I am really happy that I met such nice people. I wish all the Muslims and Christians could have such interactions, so misunderstandings could be greatly reduced.
Tuba Kazmi A journalism student at Bahria University in Karachi who is interested in communication and culture.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


tuba shah | 13 years ago | Reply @mario We are also working to change stereotype perception, we have interacted with some Christians here in Pakistan regarding our project, and they were really were gentle with us, if they can be friendly then why not other…. I have some photographs which I would like to share with the world for visual peace.
tuba shah | 13 years ago | Reply @ Zohara Yes it is true that discrimination does exist, but this is what we actually trying to remove, and it can be minimized even within the society of liberal minded people. It’s true we can eradicate its signs from the world but we can try to eliminate it on a small platform then may be a larger one. The need is to talk about this, to talk about interfaith awareness, to talk about understanding and excepting each other with all equal rights. Yes it is also true that there are some women with hijab/veils who are involved in bomb attacks, But why to discriminate every single women with hijab/veil, we have to change this stereotyped perception, and what do you think women in saris or other women around the world even in west are not involved in criminal activities, who are in jails…. But here we don’t see every women with discrimination, I mean why we don’t consider all the women criminals if some are involved in such activities,,,,, If we don’t do discrimination here, then why with veiled women?? Again I am agreed with you that Pakistani media has portrayed Pakistan as a violent country, that why people don’t invest here, everyone wants to leave the country, again I want to say then why we are here… it’s my and every Pakistanis responsibility to correct the image of Pakistan in front of outer world. We cannot just sit in our couches and see or comment on the conditions of Pakistan and its insight to the west,,, we have to change such perception for which I am here and I know there are many more people like me who are working in this regard. People like you have to stop criticism and you try to understand the actual reason of this interfaith awareness program. You live in US, you can do a lot, if you are from Pakistan it’s also your responsibility as well to change the stereotype opinion.
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