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Pakistanis Feel Stigmatized By Times Square Plot

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Faisal Usmani, in the red-lined sweater vest, plays cricket on a field near the Tidal Basin. Usmani says many local Pakistanis feel under pressure because of the Times Square suspect.
Asma Khalid
Faisal Usmani, in the red-lined sweater vest, plays cricket on a field near the Tidal Basin. Usmani says many local Pakistanis feel under pressure because of the Times Square suspect.

By Asma Khalid

The failed Times Square car bombing and the man accused in the plot, Faisal Shahzad, have cast a shadow over the local Pakistani-American community some say they feel stigmatized.

Faisal Usmani shares his homeland and his name with the suspect. He says the actions of one person are affecting a lot of Pakistanis in the District.

"I think the whole community is suffering," says Usmani. "But the community, I believe strongly disagrees with that individual."

According to Reuters, some Pakistanis are posing as Indians, out of fear they might lose their jobs.

Taha Gaya heads the Pakistani American Leadership Center. The cover of the Express last week struck a particularly raw nerve for him. The front page had a picture of the suspect with the words "made in Pakistan."

"You know if you think about most Americans base line of knowledge pertaining to Pakistan, it’s probably not that high, so if you were to ask an average American what else is made in Pakistan, I doubt they would come up with beautiful rugs, but now, they're definitely going to have that association of Pakistan with terrorism," says Gaya.

Many Pakistani-Americans say they feel there's a sense of collective blame for a crime they didn't commit.

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