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Pakistanis Make Up Silicon Valley's Largest Foreign-Born Muslim Group

Pakistani-Americans are the largest foreign-born Muslim group in San Francisco Bay Area that includes Silicon Valley, according to a 2013 study. The study was commissioned by the One Nation Bay Area Project, a civic engagement program supported by Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Marin Community Foundation and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

 Overall, US-born Muslims make up the largest percentage at 34% of all Muslims in the Bay Area, followed by 14% born in Pakistan, 11% in Afghanistan, 10% in India, 3% in Egypt and 2% each in Iran, Jordan, Palestine and Yemen.

Silicon Valley Pakistani-American by the Numbers:

Bay Area Muslims by Country of Birth 

There are 35,000 Pakistani-born Muslims in San Francisco Bay Area,  or 14% of the 250,000 Muslims who call the Bay Area home, according to the study. Bay Area Muslim community constitutes 3.5 percent of the area’s total population and is one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the country.

As of 2013, South Asian Muslims, including Pakistanis, have the highest income levels, with nearly half (49%) of them having a household income above $100,000. In comparison, those groups with the lowest proportion of household incomes above $100,000 were Hispanic Muslims (15%), Afghans (10%), and African American Muslims (10%).

The Bay Area Muslim community is very diverse in terms of race and ethnicity:

South Asians (30%)

Arabs (23%)

Afghans (17%),

African Americans (9%)

Asian/Pacific Islanders (7%)

Whites (6%)

Iranians (2%)

Based on the survey findings, the majority of Muslims live in the following three counties:

Alameda (37%)

Santa Clara (27%),

and Contra Costa (12%)

Pakistani-American Techies:

Thousands of Pakistan-born techies are working at Apple, Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle and hundreds of other high-tech companies from small start-ups to large Fortune 500 corporations. Pakistani-Americans are contributing to what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee describe as "The Second Machine Age" in a recent book with the same title.

A Representative Sample of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, advisers, mentors, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants and lawyers make up a growing ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Dozens of Pakistani-American founded start-ups have been funded by top venture capital firms. Many such companies have either been acquired in M&A deals or gone public by offering shares for sale at major stock exchanges. Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) has become a de facto platform for networking among Pakistani-American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Pakistani-American techies presence in Silicon Valley has been recognized in a popular HBO show called "Silicon Valley" that stars a Pakistani actor Kumail Nanjiani playing a Pakistan-born Silicon Valley techie.

Silicon Valley's biggest tech start-up incubator Y-Combinator is now headed by Qasar Younis, a Pakistani-American born in the Pakistani village of Lala Musa. Younis was a keynote speaker at the Pakistani-American entrepreneurs conference called OPEN Forum 2016 just last month in Silicon Valley.

Islamophobia in America: 

Muslim-Americans, including Pakistani-Americans are thriving in the high-tech Bay Area in spite of the recent rise of Islamophobia in parts of America where the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump appears to be popular.

But Muslim-Americans can not afford to ignore the gathering clouds of Islamophobia and xenophobia in America. The economic difficulties of many Americans are being exploited by demagogues like Donald Trump who is blaming foreigners for their unemployment and underemployment which can be traced to the twin forces of automation and globalization.

First, it was the manufacturing jobs that moved offshore in 1980s and 1990s in an effort to save costs and fatten profits. This forced many factory workers to move into service industries and take pay cuts. Now the service sector jobs are also falling prey to outsourcing and automation.

Instead of addressing the root causes of economic difficulties faced by many Americans, Republican front-runner Donald Trump's presidential primary campaign is blaming immigrants and Muslims for their problems. This is  giving rise to forces of racism, bigotry, xenophobia and Islamophobia in America.

Summary: 

It's in the best interest of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, particularly Muslim-American entrepreneurs, to pay attention to the economic difficulties being faced by many Americans who are losing jobs to automation and globalization. These difficulties lie at the root of growing xenophobia and Islamophobia. The Muslim-American entrepreneurs need to think of new ways to help people who are being left behind. They need to explore ideas such as helping build new skills needed for the new economy, promote policy discussions on the idea of universal basic income and expansion of safety nets and development of new gig economy to ensure full employment with decent incomes. Failure to do so could lead to significant social strife and cause irreparable damage to the very foundations of the system that has brought great wealth and power to America as a nation.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on May 19, 2016 at 3:37pm

#Houston, #Texas # Republican tries to block nominee, Syed Ali, from party office for being #Muslim. #Islamophobia

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/19/his...

A Christian pastor in the nation’s third-most-populous county tried to stop a Muslim man from serving in the local Republican Party because of his religion.

The massive jurisdiction of Harris County, Tex. — with 4 million residents in the city of Houston and its surroundings — has more than 1,000 precincts, and the Republican Party appoints a chair for every single one. Approving the people picked by a committee to fill some of those spots should have been a run-of-the-mill task.

But Trebor Gordon stood up at a meeting of the county’s GOP on Monday night. He said that Syed Ali — a 62-year-old Houston resident who has been a loyal Republican since the Reagan administration — should not be appointed.

Gordon said that Ali should be blocked “on the grounds that Islam does not have any basis or any foundation. It is the total opposite of our foundation.”

“Islam and Christianity do not mix,” Gordon said. Party chairman Paul Simpson said that Gordon serves as chaplain for the Harris County Republican Party and is a part-time pastor at a Houston-area church.

“During my prayer, this man did not bow his head. During the pledge of allegiance, he did not utter a word. He didn’t even try to fake it and move his lips,” Gordon said at the meeting, where attendees said nearly 200 people were present. “If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it’s not right. It’s not true. It can’t happen. There are things on our platform that he and his beliefs are total opposite.”

Seeing her party chaplain make such a motion, precinct chair Felicia Winfree Cravens said she was stunned. “There were more shocked faces in that room than you could count,” she said. Cravens’s camera happened to be rolling — she said she was showing a friend how to use the new Facebook Live tool, so she was broadcasting the otherwise humdrum party meeting. Suddenly, she found herself capturing the discussion of Ali’s religion on tape.

The Houston area has more Muslim residents than most other parts of the United States. More than 1 percent of the city’s residents are Muslim, and the city has more than 80 mosques and at least 10 Muslim schools, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The debate over the motion was brief but contentious. One man brought up the party’s rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion. That prompted another man, identified by Simpson and Cravens as precinct chair Mike Robertson, to stand up to ask whether Islam is a religion at all.

“Can I have a point of information?” Robertson said. “Has there been any factual information provided that Islam is a religion?”


Ali did not speak during the debate. One precinct chair, Dave Smith, came to his defense. “In our founding document, the Constitution, even back 230 years ago, when our founding fathers were establishing rules by which our country would be governed, they specifically put in there: no religious test,” Smith said. “No religious test is good enough for the founding fathers. It’s good enough for me.”

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Cravens said that as someone active in Republican politics, she is seeing much more anti-Muslim sentiment in her Facebook feed lately, in conjunction with the rise of Donald Trump. “If there were a hashtag more intense than #NeverTrump, I would be it,” she said.

But she does not know whether Trump has increased anti-Muslim viewpoints or just exposed them. “I don’t know how much of that is preexistent that he’s tapped into, or how much of that is him making people feel safe to say things like that, or if I just didn’t notice it,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to lay at the feet of Donald Trump something that he merely capitalized on.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 22, 2016 at 9:32am

#Republican Sen. Bob Bennett from #Utah Apologized to Muslims for #Trump While on Deathbed. #MuslimBan http://nbcnews.to/1sAuGuA via @nbcnews

In the final days of his life, former Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett turned to his son and asked him, "Are there any Muslims in this hospital?"

The question caught his son, Jim Bennett, off-guard. It felt like a non-sequitur, and he thought it may have had something to do with his father's recent stroke.

But Jim said his father, even after the stroke, was "sharp as a tack."

"So I was standing there with him in the hospital and out of nowhere he asked me, 'Are there any Muslims in this hospital?'" Jim Bennett told NBC News Wednesday evening.

"I said, 'Yes, dad, I'm sure there are.'" Jim said of the conversation, which was first reported by the Daily Beast. "And he was very emotional and said, 'I want to go up to every single one of them and apologize, I want to go up to every single one of them and tell them how grateful I am that they are in this country and apologize on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.'"

Jim Bennett said that when he later spoke to his mother, Joyce Bennett, about the conversation, she told him that expressing a sense of inclusion for ostracized populations, especially Muslims, had become "something that he was doing quite a lot of in the last months of his life."

Joyce told her son that his father had approached people wearing hijabs in an airport to "let them know that he was grateful they were in the country and the country was better for them being here."

Bennett, a three-term Republican Senator who lost in Utah's 2010 Republican primary to two tea-party opponents, had become increasingly concerned with Trump's rhetoric in recent months, even after he had initially written off the billionaire businessman when he first jumped into the race.

"I think he got increasingly troubled as he saw the Republican Party becoming the party of Trump," Jim told NBC News. "I think Trump's rise was really the motivation for him to recognize the importance of expressing his desire for inclusion. He just felt it was his responsibly to push back."

Jim said that his father became interested in Islam after 9/11, citing a desire to be informed about the religion while making policy decisions in the wake of terrorist attacks.

"He spent a lot of time studying Islam and wanting to be informed enough to that he wouldn't be making decisions on the floor of the Senate ignorantly," Jim said.

Bennett also took issue with Trump's comments related to immigration, considering the former Senator's support for comprehensive immigration reform was a contributing factor in his 2010 defeat.

"He felt like immigration required a comprehensive solution," Jim said of his father, "And that didn't go over well with Utah delegates who just thought that building a big wall, in a Donald Trump fashion, was the only way to go."

Jim Bennett told the story about his father's comments about Muslims at both memorial services for his father, telling NBC News he "was so grateful to be able to see that demonstration of integrity when there were so many other things that could have been front of mind for him during that time."

"I was just very proud of him," Jim said. "It just demonstrated the integrity of my father wasn't just a public front, that even in personal moments of his last days, this was something that was of deep concern to him, and that he was thinking of other people before he was thinking of himself."

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 24, 2016 at 9:52am

Most people choose not to migrate in spite of poverty and oppression as obvious from lowest rates of migration out of sub-Saharan Africa.

Results show that despite increase in the absolute number of migrants, Africa, particularly SubSaharan Africa has one of the lowest rate of emigration in the world and a majority of them migrate to other African countries signifying the importance of south-south migration. Poorer countries generally have lower rate of emigration and higher rate of intra-African migrant. Bad socio-economic conditions generally seem to lead to higher rate of emigration by highly skilled individuals. Generally, migration is driven by motives to
improve livelihoods with notable evidence on changes in labor market status. Often, self-employed or unemployed émigré ended up in wage employment. The paper outlines policy issues emerging from the migration trend in Africa.


http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Procurement/Pr...

t is often said that the only way to reduce migration from poor countries is to boost development, but this ignores the inconvenient fact that development is generally not associated with lower levels of emigration. Important emigration countries such as Mexico, Morocco, Turkey and the Philippines are typically not among the poorest countries. Meanwhile – and against popular perceptions of a “continent on the move” – Sub-Saharan Africa is the least migratory region of the world.

Development drives migration

In fact, when you examine the data, human and economic development is initially associated with increasing emigration. Any form of development in the poorest countries of the world is therefore likely to lead to accelerating emigration. Such findings contradict conventional thinking and force us to radically change our views on migration. Such rethinking can be achieved by learning to see migration as an intrinsic part of broader development processes rather than as a problem to be solved, or the temporary response to development “disequilibria”.

http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-makes-people-migrate-21442

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 21, 2016 at 1:53pm

Recent killings in Paris as well as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim refugees in Europe have drawn renewed attention to the continent’s Muslim population. In many European countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, concerns about growing Muslim communities have led to calls for restrictions on immigration. But just how large is Europe’s Muslim population, and how fast is it growing?

Muslim population in EuropeUsing the Pew Research Center’s most recent population estimates, here are five facts about the size and makeup of the Muslim population in Europe:

1Germany and France have the largestMuslim populationsamong European Union member countries. As of 2010, there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany (5.8% of the country’s population) and 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5%). In Europe overall, however, Russia’s population of 14 million Muslims (10%) is the largest on the continent.

2The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily. In recent decades, the Muslim share of the population throughout Europe grew about 1 percentage point a decade, from 4% in 1990 to 6% in 2010. This pattern is expected to continue through 2030, when Muslims are projected to make up 8% of Europe’s population.

3Muslims are younger than other Europeans. In 2010, themedian age of Muslims throughout Europe was 32, eight years younger than the median for all Europeans (40). By contrast, the median age of religiously unaffiliated people in Europe, including atheists, agnostics and those with no religion in particular, was 37. The median age of European Christians was 42.

4Views of Muslims vary widely across European countries. A Pew Research Center survey conducted this spring in 10 nations found that in eastern and southern Europe, negative views prevailed. However, the majority of respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands gave Muslims a favorable rating. Views about Muslims are tied to ideology. While 47% of Germans on the political right give Muslims an unfavorable rating, just 17% on the left do so. The gap between left and right is also roughly 30 percentage points in Italy and Greece. 

5As of 2010, the European Union was home to about 13 million Muslim immigrants. The foreign-born Muslim population in Germany is primarily made up of Turkish immigrants, but also includes many born in Kosovo, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Morocco. The roughly 3 million foreign-born Muslims in France are largely from France’s former colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/19/5-facts-about-the-m...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2017 at 10:55am

#Saudi Money Fuels the #Tech Industry in #SiliconValley. #Twitter #Facebook #Uber #WeWork The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/technology/unsavory-sources-mone...

We need to talk about the tsunami of questionable money crashing into the tech industry.

We should talk about it because that money is suddenly in the news, inconveniently out in the open in an industry that has preferred to keep its connection to petromonarchs and other strongmen on the down low.

The news started surfacing over the weekend, when Saudi Arabia arrested a passel of princes, including Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire tech investor who has large holdings in Apple, Twitter and Lyft. The arrests, part of what the Saudis called a corruption crackdown, opened up a chasm under the tech industry’s justification for taking money from the religious monarchy.


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Unsurprisingly, this is not a topic many people want to talk about. SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate that runs the $100 billion Vision Fund, which is shelling out eye-popping investments in tech companies, declined to comment for this column. Nearly half of the Vision Fund, about $45 billion, comes from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

WeWork and Slack, two prominent start-ups that have received recent investments from the Vision Fund, also declined to comment. So did Uber, which garnered a $3.5 billion investment from the Public Investment Fund in 2016, and which is in talks to receive a big investment from the SoftBank fund. The Public Investment Fund also did not return a request for comment.

Twitter, which got a $300 million investment from Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Company in 2011 — around the same time that it was talking up its role in the Arab Spring — declined to comment on his arrest. Lyft, which received $105 million from Prince Alwaleed in 2015, also declined to comment.

Privately, several founders, investors and others at tech companies who have taken money from the Saudi government or prominent members of the royal family did offer insight into their thinking. Prince Alwaleed, some pointed out, was not aligned with the Saudi government — his arrest by the government underscores this — and he has advocated for some progressive reforms, including giving women the right to drive, a restriction that the kingdom says will be lifted next year.

The founders and investors also brought up the Saudi government’s supposed push for modernization. The Saudis have outlined a long-term plan, Vision 2030, that calls for a reduction in the state’s dependence on oil and a gradual loosening on economic and social restrictions, including a call for greater numbers of women to enter the work force. The gauzy vision allows tech companies to claim to be part of the solution in Saudi Arabia rather than part the problem: Sure, they are taking money from one of the world’s least transparent and most undemocratic regimes, but it’s the part of the government that wants to do better.

Another mitigating factor, for some, is the sometimes indirect nature of the Saudi investments. When the SoftBank Vision Fund invests tens of millions or billions into a tech company, it’s true that half of that money is coming from Saudi Arabia. But it’s SoftBank that has control over the course of the investment and communicates with founders. The passive nature of the Saudi investment in SoftBank’s fund thus allows founders to sleep better at night.

On the other hand, it also has a tendency to sweep the Saudi money under the rug. When SoftBank invests in a company, the Saudi connection is not always made clear to employees and customers. You get to enjoy the convenience of your WeWork without having to confront its place in the Saudi government’s portfolio.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 16, 2018 at 10:17pm

How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America
They’re a vibrant and increasingly visible part of the tapestry in communities across the nation.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/05/being-muslim-in...

There was nothing to do but watch as the copper-domed building in the southern Texas oil town of Victoria burned down.

The mosque where Abe Ajrami’s Beyoncé-loving daughter was feted with other high school graduates, the mosque where his children went to religion classes, the mosque where he and his family went every Friday to pray and mingle over a potluck of seven-layer dip and spiced biryani, was gone.


“I was trying not to break down,” says Ajrami, a Palestinian American who raced to the mosque after getting a phone call in the dead of night. He recounts the experience to me in his living room as his wife, Heidi, an American convert to Islam, sits to his right and his daughters, Hannah and Jenin, sit to his left, while his son, Rami, sleeps upstairs.

This family reminds me of my own. My father, from Lebanon originally, also came to the United States for an education and a better future, as Ajrami did. My mother was a Unitarian Universalist, like Heidi, and she met her future husband in college and converted. My parents have raised five ambiguously tan American Muslim kids.

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Airaj Jilani, a retired oil-and-gas project manager from suburban Houston, performs as Elvis Presley. He has been a fan since he was a boy growing up in Pakistan. “I was the Elvis fan. My brother was the Beatles fan,” he says. In 1978 he visited Presley’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee; the following year he moved to Texas.

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The community has spent about three million dollars trying to build this mosque, but the Islamic center is still just a blueprint in Sohail Akhter’s kitchen. The Pakistani American is the project manager. “Fearmongering is the greatest weapon that they’ve used against us because we’re so few,” he explains to me, saying that opponents have accused them of trying to build a terrorist training camp. “Not a lot of people here have ever met a Muslim. They associate all of us with that. They’re afraid.”

-------------------

Nawab grew up culturally confused. She’s the daughter of parents from Pakistan, she was raised in a largely Arab immigrant suburb of Chicago, and she went to a mostly white school but identified with various cultures, including black culture and hip-hop. “I knew I was Muslim,” she says. “I just didn’t know what it meant. And people put you in boxes: Arab, Muslim, immigrant, doesn’t speak English. I didn’t know how I fit in.”

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IMAN is a way to make Islam relevant to American Muslims, Nashashibi says, especially those searching for a purpose and a connection to a faith so often portrayed as a foreign threat on American television. For this work he was recognized last year with a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” award. “We’re trying to celebrate the legacy of the spirit of a transformational, empowering, inspirational Islam that is not constantly trying to apologize and explain itself,” he says.

It’s the antidote, he says, to the apathy that leads people away from the faith or the vulnerability, disenfranchisement, and anger that lead people to violence, be it on the South Side of Chicago or the battlefields in Syria and Iraq. And America, he says, is the best place to be a Muslim today. “America has always provided, even in its darkest hours, spaces through which people have challenged it to live up to unfulfilled ideals.”

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