Tony Maldonado talks about religious diversity in the Rogers Park
neighborhood. A religious procession marches down Devon Avenue. (Video by Len Kody)
Fazal Asmani sells discount T-shirts and other dollar store fare out of a storefront on Devon Avenue. The bearded man leans back comfortably in a chair behind the cash register. He generously shares his political opinions but he refuses to have his picture taken.
“People here make something out of nothing,” he said, complaining about his neighbors.
Asmani said he is very conscious of who is seen coming and going from his shop.
The center of the Pakistani-Indian enclave in West Rogers Park lies at the intersection of Devon and Western Avenues.
Here mannequins dressed in colorful saris pose in many of the store windows and children could be seen playing cricket, rather than baseball, at the local sandlot. The area is as diverse as any Chicago neighborhood, with many Hispanics, African Americans, Orthodox Jews and Russians also living there.
Business owners and shopkeepers interviewed in Chicago’s Pakistani community say they are grateful for the opportunity to make a living and support their families in the United States. They say they are suspicious of strangers but not unkind to them.
Ten years after 9/11 this immigrant community endures a relationship of mixed gratitude and mistrust of their new American home.