Since about one year, many Muslims of Pakistani heritage living in Canada have been experiencing a strange phenomenon. Tele-marketers call at all times of the day and night to sell us a package to teach us Qur’an. On the surface this seems harmless but there are some real concerns coming to the surface.
I sent out a survey to all of my Pakistani friends and family only to realise that many of them have also been recipients of this unwanted service. Most of them like us have told the callers they are not interested, already know Quran, have no children living at home but the calls come anyway. I did a bit of questioning with one of the callers only to find that they are based in Pakistan and operate under many names, most prominent being Quran academy.
Our local service suppliers can’t do anything because these calls come as unknown phone numbers and are based out of Canada. However we have tried to delist our number and are waiting to see what happens.
Usually we have learnt to ignore telemarketers regardless of what they sell. But this is different. We’re not speaking here of selling life insurance or home products but a specific faith. Many questions emerge i.e. how do they know who to call and how to they deal with it when they reach non-Muslims because after all Muslims are still only 1% of the Canadian population?
The second question was answered in a shocking manner last week when I received perhaps the 500th call of the year. The caller (usually a male) starts by saying Salaam Alaikum Aunty or Baji depending on the sound of the recipient’s voice. I had answered the telephone hearing a long distance ring and thinking it might be my family from Pakistan. When I realised it was the Quran thumpers, I said “who are you? Why are you calling here and how did you get my number?” Imagine my shock when I heard abuse and obscenities from the other side mingled with laughter. And I don’t mean mild ones. This is what you call in Pakistan maan bahen ki galian which no respectable person should use or hear. I hung up the phone in disbelief and then the anger set in.
Anger at their aggression and attitude. These are people who want to teach us and our children Quran? I found out after speaking to others that the abuse is habitual. This is an outrage to our sensibilities and our faith.
Since they are based in Pakistan, can someone or the Pakistan government for the sake of our sanity and our faith please find out who these people are and ask them to stop making a mockery and business out of the Qur’an?
You see what is happening is that they are becoming a nuisance factor. If and when a non-Muslim finds out and says something, there will be cries of “Islamophobia” and accusations about Western conspiracies. What about the muck and dirt that is coming from our own people?
I’m so ashamed that I can’t even speak to anyone outside my community about this shameful state of affairs so I am writing to you.
Please make this public and put a stop to it. Thank you.