Yaqoob Malik is in Charleston as part of a U.S.-Pakistan partnership program arranged by the International Center for Journalists, in Washington, D.C.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- They say that love has no boundary, color, race, culture or language. It prevails despite all such restrictions.
There is a prime example here among us: Pakistani-American cardiologist Dr. Badshah Jan Wazir and his American-born wife, Aisha Karen Wazir (her name was changed after converting to Islam), who met 33 years ago at a hospital in Philadelphia.
Badshah, an Urdu language word that means "king," belongs to the Pattan family from the a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan -- 12,000 miles from the U.S.
He arrived at Charleston in 1975 after completing his basic field of study from a medical college in Hyderabad, Pakistan. After completing his three-year residency in general internal medicine here, he received admission to Temple University in Philadelphia in 1980 to complete his two-year specialization in cardiology.
There, Aisha was working as a nurse and younger in age than Badshah. Soon, they tied the knot, as their simple marriage ceremony was held at their house in Philadelphia.
Today, they five daughters and a son.
"Really, it was a very difficult and a big step to leave the religion and teaching of my forefathers," Aisha said this week.
She converted from Catholicism to Islam before the marriage -- souring relations with her family, she said.
"My father, a coal miner, was not very hard on me, but my mother was so stuck on it," said Aisha, who is originally from Mount Hope in Fayette County.
"Before embracing Islam, I had studied it very deeply with the help of some Muslim friends and religious people," she said.
However tense at first, bitterness with her parents, who have both since died, started to soften with the passage of time and later normalized "when they saw my happy and successful married life with full privileges, liberty and respect under the Islamic norms."
Following her marriage, she went to Pakistan to meet her mother-in-law and other family members.