Pakistani Man’s Story of Discrimination in Dubai Goes Viral

A man was turned down by a landlord as a potential tenant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates after he told him he was originally from Pakistan.

What happened: Twitter user Abbas Ali shared his experience on social media while he was looking for an apartment in Dubai, Distractify reported.

  • He showed a couple of screenshots of messages he had with a potential landlord.
  • The person he was speaking to at the time was very welcoming and even asked him his available time for viewing.
  • However, after telling the person his preferred time, things began to change. The landlord suddenly asked Ali “where are you from?” The person then added a couple of questions asking the man his name and his move in date.
  • “My name is Abbas, moved here recently from Kuwait,” he said in his reply. “Hoping to move in to the room by the end of this month.”
  • The landlord once again asked Ali where he was from and told him he was originally from Pakistan. Hours later, he messaged the landlord again to inform him that he is coming in 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Surprisingly enough, the landlord said the unit is no longer available for Ali and that is was already rented.

Racist stereotypes, discrimination: Speaking to Bored Panda, Ali said the Black Lives Matter movement that is happening in the United States right now is helping raise awareness “about racial and ethnic profiling and discrimination but maybe even getting closer to taking institutional steps of reform/abolishment towards ending them.”

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  • “However, the rest of the world has yet to catch up and go through such realizations in each of their own countries and regions, recognizing their own type of institutionalized racism and discrimination,” he said.
  • He noted that those who travel in any country in the Middle East might have a different experience with people or any landlord depending on their country of origin.
  • “Some of these countries have much more blatant racism and discrimination than others do in this region, but there is a clear hierarchy in all of them,” he said. “In the case of Dubai, generally, I feel like it’s a much less racist society or at least not as openly discriminatory, but I was warned by my colleagues since I first moved here to not tell them I’m Pakistani when looking for apartments and just to pretend I’m from Kuwait instead.”
  • Ali believes that racist stereotypes and discrimination exist largely “because of how institutionalized racism is in the governments and societies that certain people feel like it’s the norm.”
  • “And even in the case of me simply looking for an apartment using a popular website in Dubai where the site even allows the ad poster to specify a ‘preferred nationality’ for their tenants,” he said, adding that, “in gulf citizen’s own cultures have deep-rooted racism toward their own nationals too, with microaggressions and discrimination towards people with darker skin color and people with mixed families or bloodlines, looking down upon or calling ‘impure’ for nationals who have mixed parents or ancestral links to families in other non-Gulf countries.”
  • In the interview, Ali said many ex-pats have already left for their home countries as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
  • “They were always considered temporary guests rather than proper working citizens, so the ex-pat populations didn’t really receive much/any support by the government during this economic crisis when they started losing their jobs, and the jobs were the only thing keeping them here.”

People’s reaction: After the post went viral, many people also shared similar incidents where they encountered racism and discrimination while in Dubai and in other parts of the world as well.

Feature Image via Getty

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