Episode Archives

#46 – Ex-Muslim (Part 2, Ali Rizvi series)

This episode is Part 2 of our 2-part series with Ali Rizvi, 37 year old from Washington D.C., U.S. (born in Pakistan) In the last episode (#45) Ali told us about how his search for identity lead him to atheism. In this episode, we ask him for specific questions to understand his mindset – questions like how did he explain this to his family and friends? What if Islam was the right religion? Where do you get your morality from, if you don’t have a religion?

Disclaimer – this episode may not be suitable for the easily offended, as some content may be sensitive for Muslim listeners. However, our goal with Ali was to keep the conversation as respectful as possible, but also allowing him to express himself and to share his thoughts of various Islamic concepts.

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#45 – Lost Muslim Identity (Part 1, Ali Rizvi series)

This episode is Part 1 of a 2-part series discussion with Ali I. Rizvi, 37 year old from Washington DC, U.S, but born in Pakistan. Ali is a documentary filmmaker and video journalist – he also was one of the few journalists who worked on the Panama Papers story. Ali is also an open Ex-muslim and Atheist, originally born as a Shia Muslim.

In this first part of the series, we talk to Ali about his life story, and how he became the person he is today. He especially discusses how 9/11 impacted everyday Muslims and Pakistanis like him, especially those living in America and the west, and how the years after 9/11 instigated a search for identity afterwards.

See more of Ali’s work on his website: https://www.airizvi.com/

To see the Library of Congress report regarding the apostasy laws by country, click here.

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#44 – Online Dating Horror

Iqra, 26 year old from Brampton, Canada, speaks with us today about her various weird and unfortunate encounters on Muzmatch, a popular Muslim dating app used by Pakistanis. Apps like Muzmatch and Minder are quite powerful and often useful, having helped many people find their significant other and get married. However, a lot of ‘bad’ folks are on these apps too. Married people (usually men), trying to hide their first marriage. People looking for hookups. People looking for time pass.

The other podcast mentioned in this episode is ‘Serial’ – a true-crime podcast that covers an entire nonfiction story over one season. The first season of Serial covers the case of Adnan Syed, a Pakistani American convincted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999.

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Protected: “Studying Arts? Haw Haye!”

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#43 – Barcelona

Nosherwan Abbasi is 20 years old currently living around Barcelona, Spain. He moved to Spain earlier in 2019 for his studies. About 5 months before this episode, Nosherwan reached out to us on Instagram and shared a voice note about how his homesickness for Pakistan brought him to this podcast, and he wanted to discuss and share his life with us on Pakcord.

We discuss our individual stories living life away from home and getting on our feet, and of course we spend some time discussing Spain and the lifestyle there.

References: https://www.inc.com/business-insider/study-reveals-commute-time-impacts-job-satisfaction.html

Song Credit: Spanish Summer by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Artist: http://audionautix.com/

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Protected: “Don’t Ask Questions!”

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Protected: Where Pakistan meets Trinidad

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Protected: Ready to get married, but worried about paying too much?

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#42 – “PAGAL”: Desis and Depression

We Pakistanis do not discuss depression enough!

Today we shed more light on a highly important and underrated topic in the desi community: depression and mental illness. Our guest: 32 year old Israa Nasir from New York City. Israa has worked directly with patients in a mental health clinic, and now works within health tech to make an impact in the world of healthcare.

Many folks mistakenly translate “mental illness” to “pagal” in Urdu (hence the title of the episode). We often do not have appropriate words for various concepts, and that is one reason why the topic as a whole is gravely misunderstood in our community.⁣

Why does the desi community dodge this discussion?

In Israa’s experience, there have been three common reasons for avoiding getting help for mental health:

    1. Hospitalization Stigma: “If I have depression, and need medication, I will end up in the hospital, or you will throw me in the crazy hospital.”
    2. Shaming through Religion: “You’re ungrateful to God – your imaan / faith is not strong enough hence you are depressed.”
    3. Secrecy: Brown culture is a very secretive culture – we are taught to maintain and hide ‘family secrets’ or even our own personal problems from others. This often prevents people from visiting counselors.

“It’s also because you can’t see it (mental illness) – it hasn’t been part of our cultural consciousness for too long – it’s very new. People still confuse mental illness and jinns. So it’s a fairly new concept for many people.

I think our depiction of it is also very intense and exaggerated. So if you watch dramas, like the most famous drama in recent times was Humsafar … the mother in law becomes mentally ill, but the depiction they show of her is this… this WILD woman, you know? And mental illness doesn’t look like that. Everyday mental illness looks like deep sadness, social anxiety, and feeling unworthy of love. Of course the psychotic disorders exist, but the depiction of mental health is always as if this person is copmletely out of their mind. So people are afraid, they don’t want to be associated with it, they don’t want to take medication that indicates they have it – they just want to hide it.”

– Israa Nasir
Health Professional

Timeline of Discussion:

  • 0:49 – Introduction
  • 7:43 – Israa discusses her mental health background
  • 10:39 – Israa talks about the mental health clinic where she worked, and adds a desi context.
  • 17:04 – Israa discusses some common barriers or reasons why there is reluctance in the desi community to seek help for mental illnesses.
  • 19:46 – Does ‘imaan’ or faith have to do with mental illness? 24:42 – Common desi misconceptions of mental illness
  • 33:50 – How does speaking to a counselor actually help with mental illness?
  • 36:52 – Israa’s final note about depression & mental illness and what to do if you or your family member may be affected

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