Gigi Hadid called her half-Pakistani boyfriend Zayn Malik ‘half Middle-Eastern’


I think it says something really nice about the younger generation that one of their biggest “Couple Goals” celebrity-coupling is a model who is half Palestinian-American and a singer who is half British-Pakistani. Zayn Malik is a British Muslim pop star who sings in Urdu, has Arabic tattoos and who is dating half-Palestinian Gigi Hadid. From a diversity standpoint, it’s kind of awesome that we’re in this place in pop culture. It’s also pretty awesome that it’s not really a daily conversation for them, in that they’re not constantly being asked about their background, faith or politics. But Gigi does f—k it up sometimes. Many British people were offended by her complete misrepresentation of what she called “breakfast beans,” which she cited as part of her British boyfriend’s meals. Well, it got worse when she was speaking to Gulf News, a Middle Eastern newspaper. You guys, she thinks Pakistan is in the Middle East.

Gigi Hadid made a mistake that is not winning her any love from Zayn Malik fans. While promoting her capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger in Dubai, Hadid talked to the English-language Middle Eastern newspaper Gulf News about feeling a connection to her dad, who is Palestinian, whenever she travels to the Middle East.

“I especially love it when you meet other Arabs,” she said. “There’s such a sense of family regardless of whether you are blood-related or not anywhere in the world.”

Hadid said people will come up to her and tell her that they are also Palestinian, “and we make a connection, it’s beautiful.”

The model then talked about having this same connection with Malik. “My boyfriend is also half-Middle Eastern,” she said. “It’s just a connection that you make that’s really cool. It’s hard to explain, but you feel like you’re amongst [your] people.”

The problem with this statement is, Malik is actually half-Pakistani and half-British. Pakistan is a South Asian country that shares a border with India, not a Middle Eastern one. While Gulf News was quick to point out this fact, the paper also mentioned that the two do share a “love for the Arabic language, with Malik sporting Arabic tattoos and using Arabic script in his merchandise, which Hadid often wears.”

[From Refinery 29]

My guess is that she probably doesn’t think Pakistan is in the Middle East. Right? Please let’s believe that. Pakistan is an Asian country. My guess is that she meant to just speak in general terms, like she loves that she and Zayn come from similar backgrounds, both have Muslim fathers, etc. It just got confused. Maybe I’m giving her too much of the benefit of the doubt though. Maybe she really thought Zayn is “half-Middle Eastern.”



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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204 Responses to “Gigi Hadid called her half-Pakistani boyfriend Zayn Malik ‘half Middle-Eastern’”

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  1. paolanqar says:

    Geography uh?
    Such an occult science..

    Does she speak arabic?

    • Kelly says:

      I think a lot of people just assume Muslim=Middle East

      • Sayrah says:

        I think this is what’s going on here.

      • bettyrose says:

        Central Asia and North Africa often get swept up into a generic classification of “middle east,” however inaccurate that is. If she herself is of Middle Eastern origin and her boyfriend is from Central Asian origins, surely these are things they’re aware of?

      • LiterallyaShambles says:

        Also, there’s a reason we expect her to look pretty and wear clothes instead of, say, teaching kids about geography.

      • Ama says:

        One of my american au-pair kids placed the city Budapest in the Middle Eeast. When I remarked: “..not close enough”, she said: “OK, Near East”. hahaha….that was good ;-)

      • mar_time says:

        I had a Pakistani bestie in high school (during 9-11 times no less) and she always referred to herself as Middle Eastern. I’m Armenian, which is a Christian nation in the Middle East, and did the same. I don’t think it’s even a religious mapping…it’s more territorial and I don’t think what she said is so bad. Zayn might consider himself half-Middle Easter for all we know •shrugs•

      • Radley says:

        But shouldn’t she be one of the last people to make that assumption? That’s like an Asian person assuming every Asian is Chinese.

        Confused by all the excuse making. This is a PR couple anyway. This is not a real relationship and thank goodness because Gigi knows nothing about him and vice versa. Several media outlets have called them out. Before the relationship was “discovered” by the tabloids via pics taken through a hotel window, those very pics were sitting on a pap agency’s website for a week, waiting to be sprung at the right time.

        Just get back to selling high end street wear to your fans via your strategic pap walks and stop talking. Thanks.

      • Sarah says:

        my sentiments exactly Radley.

        Besides, after how many months of dating her BOYFRIEND she should know that he’s not middle eastern, and she should know that he doesn’t refer to himself as that. I have seen a few speeches he’s made since leaving one direction, he’s referred to himself as asian on several occasions. This is a personal relationship, there is just no excuse for this mistake at this point.

      • Lorelai says:

        Kelly, I think that’s exactly what it is.

      • teacakes says:

        @mar_time @Sarah – exactly, Zayn Mailk has referred to himself as Asian (in British parlance, that’s = South Asian) multiple times and publicly.

        Yes, South Asian Muslims have strong Arabic influences on them but they’re not Middle Eastern! Heck even some South Asians of actual long-ago Middle Eastern descent don’t consider themselves ‘Middle Eastern’ in the present day.

      • ladysussex says:

        But it’s not really that stupid. Yes Pakistan borders India. But it also borders Iran and Afghanistan. And He speaks Arabic which is a Middle-Eastern language (he also speaks Urdu which is not Arabic). It’s technically AS CLOSE to the Middle East as it is to India. And as for the “breakfast beans”, sorry but in the U.K. they just refer to them as “beans” (even though the can says baked beans) as in “beans and toast” AND people eat them for breakfast. So I think people are just looking for and excuse to call someone stupid.

      • teacakes says:

        some people are twisting themselves into knots to justify calling a self-professed half-Pakistani ‘Middle Eastern’, using everything from Zayn’s knowledge of Arabic (which afaik he doesn’t speak conversationally) to Pakistan bordering Iran (where people don’t speak Arabic either).

        I think Gigi’s gorgeous, she just mixed up her words.

      • Marlene says:

        What about the possibility she just flubbed the word?

      • katie2you says:

        Well she’s not exactly known for her huge brain now, is she? Mama didn’t put her out there to be a scholar!

      • Darlene says:

        Years ago, I took bellydancing. My teacher’s husband was from Morocco and is Muslim. At one point in time, probably in 2002 or so, she was talking about how difficult it was for her husband – and his very swarthy skin and “foreign” name – to travel (because 9/11 had just happened) and I said something ignorant like “it must be really hard to be Middle Eastern and travel in US airports right now” and she said “he’s not Middle Eastern…” and looked at me all puzzled and I – AGAIN SO IGNORANT – said “isn’t he?” and she’s all “no, he’s from Morocco” and that still didn’t quite help me, so I had to go home and investigate.

        It’s exactly what Kelly says: he is Muslim so I assumed that meant Middle Eastern.

        Not so much, actually. I know better now, but it was a mistake I made in my 20s.

    • SK says:

      You know… I spent the first third of this year living in an arab country and some of my arab friends there barely spoke arabic. They went to English-speaking schools and they speak arabic words and phrases here and there but are not fluent in it at all. Others speak it, but English is definitely their first language and they are not fluent in arabic. So I’m not going to give her too hard a time for growing up in America and not really speaking any Arabic. If she has some key phrases down (which I’m sure she does), she’ll be alright! I assume in this case that she meant to say Muslim and accidentally said Middle Eastern instead because she’d just said that already a bunch of times. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt anyway!

  2. Clare says:

    First breakfast beans. Now referring to Pakistan is an Arab country. She is dead to me.
    (still mostly because of the breakfast beans comments)

    • Sixer says:

      I had NOT BREAKFAST BEANS on toast for lunch just half an hour ago!

      She’s probably got herself in knots over Asian meaning East Asian to Americans and South Asian to Brits and trying to distinguish that – and it all went wrong from there. Either that, or she is just terminally stupid.

      • Clare says:

        What kind of person conflates two regions based on religion? The same kind of twat who calls baked beans breakfast beans.

        Religion =/= culture.
        Pakistan =/= middle east.
        Baked beans =/= Breakfast beans.

      • Sixer says:

        I can see you feel strongly about this, m’dear!

        I concede: she probably is this stupid.

      • Clare says:

        I feel strongly about most things near lunch time :)

      • Sixer says:

        Having spent half the weekend battling child refugee xenophobia across most of the British interwebz, I am also feeling rather prickly about these topics today. NOT BREAKFAST BEANS and lunch notwithstanding!

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        Right now I feel terminally stupid too, because I don’t get what the word Asian means exactly in the US and UK, which parts/countries and why not all of it. In Poland when one says “Asian country”, they mean every country on the entire continent of Asia, but this quote: “My guess is that she probably doesn’t think Pakistan is in the Middle East. (…) Pakistan is an Asian country. ” implies that a country can be either Middle Eastern or Asian? I know that Pakistan is not the in Middle East, but most Middle Eastern countries, including Palestine are also Asian. I would sound like a total moron while speaking to someone from USA/UK (we also consider people from Arab countries and non-native/black Latinos to be white).

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        I’m a twat too then, because I call them beans… never used the baked before it… And it took me a while to learn that ‘those’ beans were not cannellini beans, which are the kind of ‘beans’ people refer to in Italian (at least in central Italian regions).

        I could call her stupid for many things but not the beans or the comment about Pakistani, considering that many people abroad even confuse England with Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

        @Norman Bates’ mother
        I agree with what you said!

    • Inas Al Sadi says:

      Not all of the middle east are of Arab decent . she did not say Pakistan is an Arab. But she certainly very weak in geography.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Guys, I know it’s easy to yell she’s the dumbest person in the world but tons of people will make that mistake. I recently had a mortifying geography moment myself. And you wouldn’t believe how many people think Iranians speak Arabic. I would bet one month’s salary that most people from Europe and North America have NO clue about African countries. Not geography, not religion, languages, or political systems.

      • Fari says:

        I don’t know this person but don’t see The need to call her a twat…

        I have met people who didn’t know basic life skills like that you can’t fill a gasoline powered car with diesel or what is sodium chloride or the importance of folic acid during pregnancy and I certainly won’t name call them anymore than someone who doesn’t use the correct terms geographically or for beans.

        Maybe I don’t put enough of the bitchy in CB but the comments seem to show that a lot of people are quite confused and I consider this a pretty educated group! So I am willing to give her a pass, and all you smart people get an A+++

      • Clare says:

        Guys…the twat comment was is a bit of a joke in reference to a previous thread on here some weeks ago. Obviously being ignorant/unaware of geography/culture doesn’t make one a twat. Calling baked beans breakfast beans, however, does :)

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Clare, I know you were exaggerating a little and I wasn’t even referring to the twat comment. It’s just that this entire thread reads like a giant dump on the girl. So she made a mistake. I will still bet my salary that a lot of smarties on this thread would’ve made the same mistake if they were honest. Same with the beans, btw.

      • Sixer says:

        OMG! Littlemiss! Please tell me that you wouldn’t have said BREAKFAST BEANS! ;)

      • MC2 says:

        I think this just shows how bad the education around this subject is here in America and I am one. I am so bad about this and decided today to look up where Pakistan is exactly and where the borders are to a “middle eastern county” vs an “Asian country”.

        I would make this mistake and it’s why I don’t open my mouth on any of these kinds of subjects and just listen. But I feel for the poor girl today. And when I listen, I learn about breakfast beans! Woo hoo!

        ETA: I meant baked beans…..I’m so twatty today ;)

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Sixer, NO! ;-) But I have spent some time in the UK so I appreciate a full breakfast and I know how to make tea. I have a terrible feeling though that if someone asked me to fill in the names of the countries on a map of Africa, Swear to god, most people can’t even do that if you put a map of the Balkans in front of them.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        Nobody in UK ever told me where Tuscany is exactly located in Italy only based on geography, if they knew it was just because they had visited the region on holiday.
        And many Italians think Scotland is a place where people even go to work in a skirt or that Scotland is actually a province of England, but the name of the country is England, synonym of Great Britain/UK ;-)

    • Embee says:

      I am sorry to be such a boob, but can you explain why breakfast beans is offensive? I HAVE googled it but all I can find are references to the conflation of the terms “breakfast beans” and “baked beans”, and not why it’s rude to do so.

      • ladysussex says:

        I don’t think it’s rude at all really. I mean Brits eat beans for breakfast, so I don’t understand why everyone would think it’s so offensive to call them “breakfast beans”, especially since it’s an oddity for Americans to eat them for breakfast. Would she have been less stupid if had said “beans for breakfast” instead of “breakfast beans”?

      • Sixer says:

        It’s not rude at all. A bit ignorant at worst (and then only if your boyfriend is British so you can’t be arsed getting the right word for something). We’re only messing about being outraged about our NOT BREAKFAST BEANS.

    • Zahra says:

      pakistani here.pakistan is at the cross roads between middle east and india.after 9/11 its been put in the greater middle east because its a muslim country,tradiionally middle east is in asia and africa its more of arabic (and iran) region so tradionally afghanistan,pakistan,tajikistan,azerbaijan all other stans etc were not middle east.However due to recent political milieu they are all greater middle east,iran,afghanistan and pakistan don’t speak arabic.Pakistan’s national language is a mixture of persian and indian hindi language.there are other hindko,pashtu (which is also spoken in afganistan and uzbekistan)
      people do however think im middle eastern due to that look of olive skin and dark hair and big eyes.that look that zayn has is considered middle eastern and check pakistani actors fawad khan,hamza ali abbasi you will think they are middle eastern but they are not ,well not to me atleast.
      shiite Pakistanis are close to iranians and muhajir pakistanis(indian migrants) are closer to indians.and there are rest of us,and mixture of all ethnicities.

  3. Squiggisbig says:

    I’ve always gotten the feeling that she picks “boyfriends” for her brand and she just probably doesn’t know Zayn that well.

    • Alleycat says:

      She always “trades up”. Does no one remember the article that claimed Zayn was looking for a new girlfriend in the ‘it’ crowd, and that Kris was trying to get him to date Kylie or Kendall? He even went to Kylie’s birthday party and there were sources that claimed Zayn found Kendall boring. Like a month later and this couple was formed. I highly doubt they are as loved up as they are on social media.

      • Radley says:

        Agreed. But Kendall was off limits due to on/off fake dating his ex-bandmate Harry Styles. And Kylie was already being used for the in the in the works Tyga/Blac Chyna/Rob fakelationship mess. So yeah, Gigi was available and has a very thirsty stage mom pushing her.

        As an aside, in general, my gut tells me One Direction is more not straight than straight. Most of those fellas love lives are—complicated. People in that fandom can point out tremendous inconsistencies when it comes to that. And while alot of people would claim it’s crazy conspiracy theories, not everything seems to be a wild fantasy. Bottom line: PR relationships and closeting are a real thing that happens with celebrities.

      • dandan38 says:

        Gosh, if that sort of charade is what’s entailed to be famous and rich a lot of the time, consider me very happy to be an economically humble plain-Jane with a real love partner…

  4. Margo S. says:

    I must be a moron because I assumed Pakistan was also in the middle east. However, I did know it bordered India, which I know to be a part of Asia, so I should have known.

    • bettyrose says:

      If you Google “middle east,” you will definitely find maps that include Pakistan on the edge. Middle East isn’t a strict geographic definition, as much as a socio-political region with shifting borders.

      • Em says:

        Yep count me in the geographically confused club too. I don’t think this was a serious, let alone moronic error on Gigi’s part. Like Bettyrose said, the Middle East isn’t a continent, it’s a region and its boundaries area highly amorphous. We talk about our wars in the Middle East and technically Afghanistan, Pakistan’s neighbour, is not part of the Middle East either. I wouldn’t get fussed over this one (but I have a soft spot for Gigi).

      • Fiorella says:

        Exactly Em, if afganistan is the Middle East and Pakistan shares a border with it (I think it’s a mountainous border) AND shares a religion with it and most of the ME this is not a biggie. If she thought India Bangladesh or Sri Lanka was in the ME that would be a LOT more stupid~

      • Ariadne says:

        @bettyrose I’m from Cyprus and sometimes people describe it as being in the ‘Middle East area’; even though Cyprus is a European country, it’s right next to Syria and the Lebanon and sometimes people use this description when explaining that it’s as close to the Middle East as to the rest of Europe.

        In terms of mistakes, I don’t think this is something she should get too much criticism for because like you say, maps can show the area of the Middle East to include the countries on the outliers.

      • teacakes says:

        @Fiorella – it’s kind of weird to hear Pakistan considered part of the Middle East because well, just 70 years ago India and Pakistan were the same country and no one ever considered that entire massive region part of the ME.

        I mean, that’s like thinking India is part of the Sinopshere just because it borders China.

      • Fiorella says:

        Teacakes, that was 70 years ago and is the concept “middle east” not a western ethnocentric term anyways? Is that a grouping favoured by the people who live in the ME? Is it a Food thing as people are mentioning? If some Pakistani people are in favour of that grouping I feel it’s a Grey area. Did GH go to a west coast private school? They often don’t teach the old school ways of thinking of things.

      • teacakes says:

        @Fiorella – I think you’re giving Gigi way too much credit here, girl is not applying (newly expanded by western powers) definitions to her boyfriend’s region of origin – FAR more likely that she just used ‘Middle Eastern’ as shorthand for Muslim.

        And as people have said all over this thread, Zayn himself identifies – repeatedly and publicly – as British Pakistani or ASIAN. i.e. South Asian, and Muslim. Not Middle Eastern.

        His being Muslim doesn’t make him Middle Eastern any more than my being Christian does (there is some Middle Eastern blood on my mum’s side of the family but I definitely don’t consider myself Middle Eastern!)

      • Bridget says:

        @teacakes – here in the US there’s an argument that Pakistan could be considered part of the Middle East. I’d say more than anything Gigi’s California is showing here. And what’s with all of the “it’s in Asia” distinctions? Did I miss something and the Middle East became its own continent? Most of the Middle Eastern countries are in Asia.

      • anon says:

        Calling Pakistan part of the mideast, is cultural hegemony. Pakistanis are south asian and there is a very proud and ancient culture formed by their ancestors, when Arabs were barely scraping out a living. It’s cultural imperialism to deny people their ancestry.

    • tegteg says:

      Yeah, I don’t think this is a HUGE deal… Pakistan borders Iran, which is in the middle east. I bet a lot of people think Afghanistan is in the middle east, too.

    • Wurstbonbon says:

      I don’t really understand what the big deal is. So wikipedia says that the eastmost country of the middle east is iran, which pakistan is neighbour to. So she’s off by one country, and we’re talking about an area that is not even clearly defined. Dramatic mistake *eyeroll*
      I don’t see the drama here.

      • Embee says:

        My boyfriend is Iranian, and I asked him about this once. He told me he grew up believing he was Asian but after he moved to the States he learned he was considered “Middle Eastern”. So it appears there is a lot of confusion about what that term covers. Agreed it doesn’t make her a moron.

      • G says:

        Embee: yes, exactly. During university I lived with a couple friends from Iran, and I remember filling in forms with one of them once. She had to select a descriptor for herself (something about race/origin/ethnicity) and wanted to put down ‘Asian’. Honestly, it confused me at the time and I was only a little younger than Gigi (and studying anthropology, of all things). For the same reasons you’ve all mentioned, I don’t really think that made me a moron and I don’t think this makes Gigi a moron either.

      • anon says:

        It’s definitely defined for those of us, from South Asian. Pakistan and Afghanistan share more culturally with India, Historically, Iran had more wars, cultural exchanges etc. with Europe, while from Afghanistan etc. were centered around India. Find out if you don’t know. Don’t excuse your ignorance/

    • Mal says:

      Sorry guys but it is a big deal to us Pakistanis. The only thing we have in common with any Middle Eastern country is that we are a Muslim majority country. Ethnically, linguistically, culturally, we are South Asian. We have much more common with India than we do with any Middle Eastern country. I can’t tell you how annoying it was when I was in grad school in the US and asked what it was like growing up in the middle east. It may not seem like “that big a deal” to you because geographically we’re “just one country off” from Iran but it is a big deal to us because we have our own identity. We don’t identify as Middle Eastern and it’s very offensive when people like Gigi lump all Muslims together as Arabs or Middle Easterners and don’t see what the big deal is.

      • Fiorella says:

        But aren’t middle eastern people considerably diverse too? I’ve been to Turkey, my friend told me about Yemen. They seem quite different. Including the food And the clothes.

      • teacakes says:

        @Mal – if it makes you feel better, I’m from India and in my experience, Indians and Bangladeshis used to get asked the ‘Middle East’ question all the time too. I mean, India is not a Muslim-majority country, and we’re not even close to one (unless they thought Pakistan counted as one) and I still got it anyway. And Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority country but far, FAR away from the Middle East and my Bangladeshi friends still got it too.

        I guess some people just think all non-Euro/brown people are the same, it’s an annoying fact of life.

      • Zahra says:

        I am a Pakistani too and get that question all the time.and im sorry to disagree with you,not all Pakistan has everything common with india,there is part of Pakistan on the west side the whole other part which does not think its closer to india.They only cultural similarities we have are from indian migrants,and i grew up in Pakistan and it made me mad intially but there are maps and after 9/11 Pakistan is considered in greater middle east.the food i eat is not close to indian food except may be what they got from their western side .i.e now pakistan.So i ask you please not put all of us in that lump.I have no problem being considered middle east or south asian or central asian(some maps even do that).
        This is in response to Mal.

    • ladysussex says:

      You’re not a moron. It’s considered part of the mid-East region and has a lot of similarities politically, religiously, and somewhat lingually.

  5. canadiangirlgirl says:

    I really, really hope she knows the difference.
    …. ughhhhh

  6. als says:

    I don’t think this couple speaks to a great cultural revolution.

    No one asks them about their origins because they don’t have traits of their origins.
    No accent, no nothing. And if they were asked, what would they say? They look and act British and American and people perceive them as such. And they should, because they grew up in these countries. And their fans know as much about Pakistan as Gigi does. They are also perceived as young and rich and extremely beautiful, not Muslim, Palestinian, etc. Beauty and money trump origins.
    Let’s not be overly optimistic here.

    • Clare says:

      What do you mean they look ‘British and ‘american’? What do ‘British’ people look like? Did you mean to say they look white? Because she might, but he doesn’t really?
      Also, he has a very specific accent which is often linked to the British Pakistani community in Bradford and surrounding areas.

      I also think (and he has said this himself, as well) that he doesn’t talk about his ethnic background/religion because he doesn’t want to politicize his career – every time he HAS mentioned his beliefs he has been attacked by trolls.

      He also has been known to attend South Asian arts related events in the UK, and is known to speak Urdu….soooo I think you are underestimating his links to his father’s background.

      • Sixer says:

        Shukriya. I agree. I don’t even follow him but you can see at first glance he has a clear presence of his heritage in his life.

      • Val says:

        She on the other hand doesn’t seem to have any connection to Palestinian culture. It looks like it’s been completely washed out.

        also “the two do share a “love for the Arabic language, with Malik sporting Arabic tattoos and using Arabic script in his merchandise, which Hadid often wears.””

        So, uh, is that the journalist being confused by the script being in Urdu and thinking it’s in Arabic?
        Hadid’s “love for the Arabic language” = wearing Zayn’s merchandise which has Arabic script….. I can’t. Just… Lol.

    • Matomeda says:

      +1 to everything you said. And like another comment above- I think she’s talking more about faith and therefore the aspects of culture (since rekigion and culture influence each other in those regions) more so.

    • als says:

      @Clare: go live a couple years in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia or any country that America requires a travelling visa from and you will figure out for yourself how Americans and Brits look and act. And color has nothing to do with it.
      I am not saying it’s something bad or good (no labels here) but it is something that one must experience personally.

      • Clare says:

        @als I’ve lived in both the Middle East and Asia (Dubai, Pakistan, India and Bangdalesh specifically). There is no one way that Brits and Americans look and act. From what I know of Zain he very much identifies as British/Pakistani, so it’s a shame that you would refuse to accept that because to you he ‘looks and acts’ British. Oh well, to each their own.

    • teacakes says:

      @als – Zayn, not perceived as Muslim? Or Pakistani?


  7. nicole says:

    Apparently it’s not quite so cut and dry as to the South Asia/Middle East divide:

  8. SunnyD says:

    Pakistan touches Iran and India, it’s in that weird middle ground between eastern asia and the middle east. From a cultural standpoint I consider them the middle east. It doesn’t seem like an insult or slight. In fact, I would probably put them in the middle east pile too if I was sorting countries with similar cultures. Seems to me like people just want a reason to jump down these insta models throats.

    • Fari says:

      I agree sunny.

      I associate the parts of Pakistan closer to the Indian border with India and it’s culture and the parts closer to the Iranian border as middle eastern.

      To me, it is like asking if Russia belongs to Europe or Asia. Culturally it seems more European, but in many many Russian parts the people appear almost Chinese, there is a blending of culture, religion, etc. much more than parts in the interior of the country.

    • Clare says:

      You can consider them whatever you like, but I’m afraid you are wrong. Yes many (most) Pakistanis share a religion with many (most) people in the ME but they are not culturally the same (or even that similar). They have different languages (with different scripts), different cultural traditions, different food, different histories. The only obvious similarity is religion – and as we all know culture and religion are two very different things.

      • SunnyD says:

        I don’t know, Pakistan felt just like India at the boarder, and just like Iran as you got deeper in. I was fortunate enough to visit the middle east on the early 2000′s and the language is different yes, but anyone with eyes could visit Iran, Pakistan and India and see that where as Pakistan originated from Western India the CULTURE which is what was what gigi was saying was nice to share, is OBVIOUSLY closer to that of what is considered to be middle eastern.

        Just saying, she was obviously talking about culture. Thanks for the social justice lesson though.

      • LAK says:

        That was my first thought too.

        Just because they are all Muslim, doesn’t mean they are culturally the same.

        It’s the same as saying all christians are culturally the same.

      • Clare says:

        You’re welcome. But, having spent 2+ years of my PhD going back and forth between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India while doing field work, I am curious to know which border you visited, and which parts of Pakistan you felt were ‘just like Iran’?

      • Suzie says:

        As a commentator said below, despite cultural differences Middle-Easterners and Pakistanis “share a way of life, so there are certain things we simply understand about each other and each other’s families, behaviours, expectations, life pressures, etc.”
        I totally agree with this. It is not only religion. It is about a way of life or even understanding better what kind of prejudice Muslims can face. Gigi’s dad has talked about it, and Zayn has been receiving online xenophobic abuse since his 1 Direction days.

      • LAK says:

        Suzie: to use a better analogy, America vs Britain ( or France vs Francophone countries). We all speak English ( or french) and have a quick understanding of each other as a result, yet culturally we are different.

      • Suzie says:

        LAK: I don’t think the analogy applies because as said in another comment, Islam is more than just a religion, it is also a way of life, involving customs, traditions, behaviors, expectations, etc. You cannot compare it to France and Quebec, which only share the French language.

      • ladysussex says:

        Yes, the U.S and Canada have “different histories” and different food, different accents and even language, and cultural differences as well. But no one is going to become outraged if you referred to either as “North American”.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        Actually, the analogy is good. You can compare Bosnia with Iran just as much as you can compare France with Quebec.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      Thank you. The guy is a Muslim Pakistani. I love how everyone is so butthurt because it’s allegedly the PC thing to make presumptions about how culture and subjective geographical boundaries always line up perfectly in accordance with the ideas of whoever’s doing the judging. Haven’t we all been through this with Kim Kardashian and people who decide that N. Africans must always be black? If he feels a connection to the M. East, that’s his business.

      • ladysussex says:

        Ohhhhh thank you. Finally a voice of reason, who also uses the word “butthurt”! I’ve said this before, but it seems these days people think being outraged=righteousness. It does not.

      • teacakes says:

        “If he feels a connection to the M. East, that’s his business. ”

        [copy-pasting from above] considering he has repeatedly, publicly and emphatically declared that he’s ASIAN (which in British parlance means South Asian) and Muslim, I doubt he considers himself ‘Middle Eastern’ which is what his girlfriend refers to him as here.

        I understand why she went that way, doesn’t mean it’s correct.

      • WeAreAllMadeOfStars says:

        I stated “if he feels a connection” specifically because he could “feel a connection” to the region and/or its Muslim culture as a practicing member of an historically based faith which has its origins in that region. I’m pretty sure Muslims in Michigan, France, Miami, Sweden, and wherever else they may be feel a connection to that part of the world regardless of their background because it it THE CRADLE OF THEIR RELIGION.

      • teacakes says:

        @WeAreAllMadeOfStars – feeling a connection to the birthplace of your religon =/= being FROM that region or considering yourself to be from that region. Just saying. I’m a member of an Orthodox church but that doesn’t make me Syrian or Palestinian or whatever, and anyone trying to claim I was would be wrong.

    • Kk says:

      Agree. Pakistan is, culturally and geographically, on border between se Asia and middle east. It’s not like she said he was half African. Especially in this context where she’s just commenting on cultural similarities. This is not a big deal and it’s not offensive or even that stupid.

    • Wurstbonbon says:

      Me too.

  9. ReineDidon says:

    Maybe she meant Zayn comes from the same “geographic zone” ? Because Pakistan is definitely not in the ME and Pakis are definitely not Arab ! 😁 I would expect this kind of generalization from non-Arab and non-political people. But yeah it is not expected from a half Palestinian.

    • freebunny says:

      I doubt she cares about the Palestinian cause and speaks more than 3 arabic words.
      She’s a little (tall) blond blue eyed rich girl, not the next arab pasionaria.

      • ReineDidon says:

        I am sure she isn’t :) I meant since her dad is Palestinian she sure knows what the Middle East is and that Muslims are from different countries regions and cultures. Not all Muslims are Middle Eastern! I would expect her to be aware of this since her dad is an actual Middle Eastern.

      • LA says:

        Whoa there. Because she looks more like her mom she doesn’t care about her dads culture? That’s a terrible thing to say. You have no idea about her personal life or what she believes based on how much money she was raised with or what she looks like. You could be right, of course, but this comment was just so rude.

      • SunnyD says:

        This right here, is the most demeaning, bigoted and racist comment of the day. Basically my whole life right here🙄

      • Em says:

        Agree with @LA. That’s a pretty harsh judgment to throw out there. Her last name is Hadid, she’s the product of a mixed race marriage – she’s very likely aware of ethnicity and differing cultural norms. I’m mixed race as well and it’s frankly part of the experience of growing up. She may be blonde and blue eyed but that doesn’t mean she has nothing to contribute to the discussion.

      • ReineDidon says:

        @La : I think you made a confusion and answered yourself. I don’t know where have you seen me judging her looks, wealth, personal beliefs or her mom ?!
        I am judging a comment she made about her boyfriend’s origin. I myself am Arab and I would expect a half-Arab person to know better what the Middle East is (since her dad is Palestinian) or the difference between say Middle Eastern countries and South Asian Muslim countries. But if she doesn’t know, which is the case here, it is her choice. After all she is a super model not a geopolitics professor.

      • LA says:

        @reinedion I was commenting to FreeBunny who did make those comments, not to you :)

      • ReineDidon says:

        @LA : I doubted that your comment wasn’t directed at me later :D Sorry !

      • teacakes says:

        @freebunny – that was an awful comment.

        @Reinedidion – I assume you used the word ‘Pakis’ in all innocence, but I’ve only ever known it as a slur.

    • HH says:

      So, I see that you used the word “Pakis”… Is that not a slur? Or derogatory? I ask because I specifically remember Prince Harry getting into some hot water for calling a comrade a “Paki.” I believe he said something to the tune of “our little Paki friend here…” I thought the word itself was an issue, but perhaps it was just the way he said it. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.

      • spugzbunny says:

        As a Brit, I personally find it super offensive. But then I am whitey mcwhite over here. It is drummed in to me that this a very bad word that we do not joke around with in the UK.

      • Sixer says:

        In Britain, it is very definitely a racial slur.

      • HH says:

        Thanks! Maybe it’s different in other places… which is possible, but odd. I don’t find that racial slurs change based upon geography or culture. There may be times when the people don’t mean to be offensive, but that’s always a flaky excuse. However, I’m Black, so there’s always one racial slur that people stay away from. lol

      • Sixer says:

        HH – the most ignorant thing about it is that is used as a pejorative (by racists, obvs) to refer to any South Asian person, be they Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi. But I think only outright racists – not well-meaning but ignorant people – would use it here now. I think George Dubya used it once and got into trouble, as well as Harry!

      • HH says:

        Sixer – reminds me of how “mexican” is used by racists/ignorant people to refer to ANY person of hispanic or latino origin in the U.S.

      • ladysussex says:

        Funny story, I grew up in Atlanta, and the University I went to had a group of students (Pakistani) who all had souped-up cars with “Paki Pride” in big letters on the rear window. Then while living in London I found out it was equivalent to the “N-word” as far as offensiveness and “Don’t EVER say it-ness”. And I was like, “But how can it be a slur if they call themselves that?”. Guess what, they thought the same thing about the N-word used in rap lyrics. Go figure.

  10. trollontheloose says:

    it’s unfortunate but yes, I think that many figure that since they are mainly Muslim they are therefore Middle Eastern.. I had a discussion about this a few months ago about Russia being part of Asia as well and not just European. Depending of the region. Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, etc.. all part of Asia yet for the “Arab” countries some will tell you “all these Middle Eastern people”..

    • supposedtobeworking says:

      I don’t know that the confusion or fluidity of labels is just that they are collectively mainly Muslim – I think Pakistani ties to some of the Middle Eastern factions is what relates Pakistan to the Middle East for many Westerners.

      When the US engaged in conflict in the geographic Middle East and Afghanistan, Pakistan was included in the fugitive surveillance and resulting intelligence dialogue. They harboured Bin Laden. Most of Asia wouldn’t be an investigative target for extremist terrorists on the run, but Pakistan is. So maybe they are MIddle Eastern by association for geo-political reasons?

  11. SnazzyisAlive says:

    I think she was probably referring to cultural similarities… but maybe I am being too optimistic?

    • Myrto says:

      What would be the similarities between Palestine and Pakistan? They don’t speak the same language, they’re not the same ethnicity, not the same culture. Except for religion, these countries don’t have much in common. Then again, it’s not like I’m expecting an intelligent comment from Gigi Hadid. She probably doesn’t know much about geography and doesn’t care.

      • Clare says:


      • SnazzyisAlive says:

        Well I’m of indian origin and have lots of pakistani friends and lots of middle eastern friends as well, and while we do speak different languages, our cultural background is similar in that Islam is a religion but also a way of life, so there are certain things we simply understand about each other and each other’s families, behaviours, expectations, life pressures, etc.

        So coming from a place of knowledge in this particular circumstance, I stand by my comment.

      • WeAreAllMadeOfStars says:

        Except for religion? You don’t know much about the all-encompassing nature of serious religious belief, do you? Especially with Muslims?

      • Sasha says:

        Well, for one, there is definitely more similarities between a Pakistani and a Palestinian way of life than between a Pakistani and a Hindu Indian.

  12. Alexa says:

    While it is strange she didn’t know this considering her boyfriend is Pakistani, the notion of ‘The Middle East’ is an invented European concept and a lot of people still argue that the term is orientalist.

  13. Patricia says:

    Well I just hope that if they marry and have children some day she makes sure to be educated about the reality of his ethnicity, so she can participate in teaching her children to be proud and aware of their heritage.

    I agree that the younger generation is very accepting and open about so many social issues that, in the past, were a big deal or a struggle. I’m the oldest possible millennial, and the younger millennials give me hope for the future.

    I think a lot about being a white woman with a half Hispanic son (that’s me!) and the fact that I need to know all I can to instill pride and knowledge in my son. Acceptance of diversity does not mean ignoring the heritage itself. My son is learning spanish from his father and Abuelos, he has been to Puerto Rico and we talk about it often, and already at the age of two he can proudly say “I am Puerto Rican!”.

    Sorry, going off in a tangent. But also relevant for parents in this new age where being mixed is the new normal!

  14. Lex says:

    Meh – it’s not like she claimed New Zealand was the Middle East, Pakistan is right next to Afghanistan.

    Anyhoo, she just misspoke probably and meant muslimor arabic background. Did she even finish high school? Who cares

    • Sixer says:

      Afghanistan is not a Middle Eastern country. Malik isn’t of Arab heritage.

    • LAK says:

      Afghanistan is in the middle east!😂😂😂😂

      I’ve truly heard it all!!

      • Hannah says:

        Actually Afghanistan is included in many definitions of Middle East, as is Pakistan and Morocco to name a few.

        The term is European-coined based on non-geographic features with differing definitions depending on the organisation or the institution you consult.

        Sorry, just didn’t like seeing the person above get mocked!

      • Cee says:

        I was once told Argentina was next to Russia and that Africa was a country.

      • Sixer says:

        Hannah – yes and no.

        The traditional – and yes, colonialist – concept of the Middle East does not include Afghanistan. Afghans do not consider themselves Middle Eastern any more than Pakistanis do.

        The concept of a “Greater Middle East” is a mostly American thing – arguably also very much imperialist – coined by the GW Bush administration to streamline reference to and administration of policies of military and sanctions intervention in the MENA region.

        Personally, I think we should avoid the latter even more than we avoid the former.

      • LAK says:

        Hannah: even wikigoogle disagrees with you!!

        Cee: Thank you….Africa is indeed a country!!LOL.

      • Sixer says:

        LAK – “Greater Middle East” has pretty much been replaced by MENA now (Middle East and North Africa) because most people realise how ignorant and off-base it is, and, if you ask me, that it basically means “countries we feel entitled to bomb or sanction”.

        (Not just referring to the US by that: also mean my own country and several others.)

      • Leah says:

        Hillary clinton recently referred to Afghanistan as a middle eastern country. Even highly educated people get it wrong so no need to mock people
        These terms are mainly a result of european construct and has very little meaning to the actual people living in those areas.

      • Hannah says:

        LAK – I’m not saying any are right or wrong. I am explaining that multiple organisations (UN, G8, academic institutions) have multiple definitions for what they constitute as the “Middle East”. Some include Afghanistan. Some include Pakistan. Some include North African countries. I am not telling you or arguing which is correct. I am merely pointing out that scoffing at people, as you are (and might I add, all the while offering Wikipedia as a credible source), is very ignorant because depending on the source there will be a different definition.

      • Val says:

        @Leah… See Sixer’s comments. This is part of the problematic imperialist view of the US govt.

    • Zahra says:

      Sixer says:
      October 24, 2016 at 10:37 am
      LAK – “Greater Middle East” has pretty much been replaced by MENA now (Middle East and North Africa) because most people realise how ignorant and off-base it is, and, if you ask me, that it basically means “countries we feel entitled to bomb or sanction”.

      (Not just referring to the US by that: also mean my own country and several others.


      it basically means “countries we feel entitled to bomb or sanction”.

  15. Snowflake says:

    Tbh, I really suck at geography so that is probably a mistake I would make. So I’m not gonna hold it against her personally

  16. RhoSue says:

    Who cares how ignorant she is? He’s gay.

  17. Skins says:

    All right, so GiGi isn’t the brightest bulb, but she will still kick your butt if she has to

    • teacakes says:

      I see Bush-era propaganda is already working. ‘Greater Middle East’, my foot.

      (that was not directed at you, btw, it was at the warmongers who made it up)

  18. Suzie says:

    My belief is that she didn’t want to use the word Muslim because it refers more to religion than culture. Arabic would have been incorrect too. So she incorrectly used Middle-Eastern instead.
    And as an anecdote I read that even Hillary Clinton said recently that Afghanistan was in the Middle East whereas it is in Asia.

    • Sixer says:

      Being kind, this is kinda what I meant above. She didn’t want to say Muslim, cos that might mean hot water. She didn’t want to say Arab because he’s not Arab. She couldn’t say Asian cos that means different things to Brits and Americans. Lost for words, she picked one and it was the wrong one.

      • ReineDidon says:

        Exactly. I also think she used a ‘generic’ term that is common in the USA to avoid using a more specific term as ‘muslim’ or ‘South Asian’. Or at least I am giving her the benefit of the doubt on this one.

      • Suzie says:

        Spot on. Agree 100%

      • Sasha says:

        It sounds like there was no right one. It is a minefield, the way you describe it.
        And I don’t think she was wrong in her choice of words.

      • tan says:

        or she could just have said half british half pakistani and we wouldn’t be going around in circles then.

        She didn’t and we get to discuss a lot with occassional bitching, so thank you Gigi

    • detritus says:

      As someone with a foot constantly inserted in my mouth, I feel for her on this one.
      She doesn’t seem like the brightest bulb and she tried.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      But the Middle East is also in Asia ( plus Egypt which is African)? So wheter he was half Pakistani or half-Middle Eastern he would be half-Asian either way.

  19. Hummos says:

    I’m with you giving her the benefit of the doubt I think she was probably almost about to say ‘Muslim’ but stopped herself and said ME just to avoid controversy and it came out wrong. It happens. Her dad is Palestinian and very proud of it i am sure she knows the difference between the two.

    Having said all of that, the phrase MIDDLE EAST is not used by Arabs themselves to describe their homelands. It is a European invention to group those Arab nations that were ‘middle/east’ of Europe. Many borders within ‘ME’ are straight lines, I.e they were carved up by the Brits and the French. Nationhood itself was imposed on the Arabs which is part of the reason for so much internal conflict. I am rambling….

    • ReineDidon says:

      Exactly ! Thank you

    • Suzie says:

      She got dragged on twitter for days for it. You could tell people were waiting for the slightest mistake to have a go at her. I thought the backlash was disproportionate.

    • detritus says:

      This is true and I’ve never thought about it. Most MEers that I know are Persian, or Kurdish, or maybe Arabic, but frequently something more specific. Never as general as Middle Eastern.

    • Fiorella says:

      Rambling? No you’re making the most important point here:)

    • Val says:

      I must say though, that for a father who is proud to be Palestinian, I feel like she’s as American as Taylor Swift. I blame him for that…

  20. G says:

    She’s an American who grew up primarily in a post 9-11 world. It’s very possible that she might not know these things. Even the world ‘Arab’ is a somewhat controversial term here.

    Source: had a person in my dissertation class do hers on being Arab in the US. Many people in the community mix it up with Muslim and shy away from the word. She might have been doing that.
    I dunno, I am gonna give her the benefit of the doubt for this one.

  21. Hannah says:

    So never thought I’d be defending a model but…

    “Middle east” “near east” “far east” are just socio-political terms with different definitions across different academic circles and organisations. They aren’t really based on Geography but instead on cultural, political and economical features.

    Turkey, a “Middle Eastern” country, will likely eventually become known as a “European” country, at least in in my children’s lifetime. Another example might be how an “Eastern European” country like Poland is now just a “European” country.

    G8 identify Pakistan as being part of the Middle East. The UN don’t.

    It really doesn’t matter because the bottom line is she meant no harm, caused no harm, and everyone knew what she meant.

    • sabaker says:

      trust me when i say turkey will never be a part of Europe. they are moving towards the east quickly.

  22. Sam says:

    I really love how some folks on here are getting offended at what she said and some are calling her dumb….when from a technical standpoint every country in the so called Middle East is a part of Asia. As a person from that region….I am Palestinian myself….we don’t call ourselves Middle Eastern. However when I’m in the states and I try to explain my culture, I refer to myself as that. It’s all a socio-political term used to describe a specific region…what that region is changes depending on the circumstances and agenda the government wants to push. But from a geographical standpoint all those countries are a part of Asia.
    Secondly, because the ME is a made up region with boarders that are always changing depending on the politics of the day, Pakistan could very well be considered a part of the ME. Just look up ME on the map and in a lot of them Pakistan is included. Turn on the news and when they talk about things that happen in Afghanistan or Pakistan, they refer to it as the ME.
    So I’m not going to sit and point my finger at Gigi when the line isn’t so clear. There’s nothing to be offended about. They’re both Muslim, I assume. And as a result have similar beliefs. I am 99.9% sure that’s what she meant but because of all the politics and nonsense in the world she referred to hersef and Zayn as Middle Eastern because she didn’t know how to go about it in another way. I don’t see the big deal and I think some folks are just waking up to find something to be offended about.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      Afghanistan is in Central Asia. Words have meaning.

      • Sam says:

        Then you should have a problem with how the media refers to Afghanistan as being part of the Middle East but like I explained which you completely ignored….all the countries in the supposed Middle East are a part of Asia.
        Why you chose to single out Afghanistan is beyond me.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        Because I’ve been there. For my PhD in Asian and Int’l studies.

    • LAK says:

      The GW Bush administrations may have decided to call it Middle East because GW and his cohorts needed to dumb the message to their audience, but Pakistan is not the Middle East.

      And if religion is the decider, then you might as well throw in African countries like Djibouti and northern parts of Nigeria etc as well as Thailand and Brunei.

      You might as well insist Africa is a country because GW decided that it was.

      • Sam says:

        Thank you for proving my point. I clearly stated that the Middle East is a social-political term used to describe a region and happens to change depending on the politics of the day. At the end of the day, all countries in the ME are in Asia.

        And since you’ve brought up Africa, it’s comical how Egypt is considered part of the Middle East, isn’t it? Ironic how all the countries in the supposed ME have one thing in common which I also touched upon in my post.

        All I’m saying is the region that is so called the ME isn’t quite clearly defined and is in fact only coined the ME because of political factors that have to do with religion.

      • Sixer says:

        Sam – Egypt is a part of the Middle East because it is ethnically Arab. This isn’t a comical thing: it’s an an actual thing based on shared ethnicity with other nations. And it really is little to do with religion.

        You are right: the original definition has to do with the colonial Great Game and is an imposition by European powers. The extended definition is an imposition by the US in reference to its own, modern day, great game in the region. Neither were chosen by the people themselves.

        Personally, I prefer to use neither term and stick to referring to people by the ethnicity or nationality they identify themselves as belonging to. But if forced to choose between the narrower or the wider definition, I would choose the narrower. Because at least it has *some* connection with ethnicity, while the wider, US-imposed term does not.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Er, Sixer–by that logic, Iran is NOT part of the Middle East. Though I agree with the “it’s a made-up geopolitical term that is applied with more fluidity than accuracy” camp. So hard to drag her for using it. As I mention below, many folks in the US don’t mentally apply Asian accurately. India is, well, India. (And geographically it is a sub-continent, so there’s that.). Go left, towards the ‘Middle East’. Go right, that’s Asia. Not accurate, but there are a lot of collective ideas that will take time to correct in pop discussion.

    • Sasha says:

      I agree with you.
      A big part of it is that most American have a very theoretical knowledge of the region, as there aren’t that many immigrants from those countries in the US. They don’t understand the nuances and interplay of religion/ ethnicity/ geography. It is something no book can teach you, but only personal experience.

      In a way it is similar to discussion about Armenia, in relation to Kim K’s race.

  23. DazLondon says:

    I’ve heard several people with Pakistani ancestry refer to themselves as ‘middle eastern’.
    The middle east is still in Asia.
    And there is a lot of middle eastern influence in Pakistan.
    But i think this is just a debate about what Asian region Pakistan is in.
    And some Pakistanis just don’t want to refer to their country as in the INDIAN subcontinent of Asia.

    • teacakes says:

      “And some Pakistanis just don’t want to refer to their country as in the INDIAN subcontinent of Asia.”

      Nailed it. There’s a school of thought in Pakistan (which I’ve heard in person as well as seen a book about, many years ago) that claims the country has closer cultural ties to the Middle East/Central Asia and isn’t truly South Asian/ shouldn’t be associated with India at all, and I think that’s all tangled in the thorny issue of national identity and regional conflicts. But I’ve known way more Pakistanis who don’t believe in it than those who do.

      • Sasha says:

        > that claims the country has closer cultural ties to the Middle East/Central Asia and isn’t truly South Asian/ shouldn’t be associated with India at all

        I definitely think so. Culturally Pakistan is aligned with the Middle East and Central Aisa.
        They’ve been at war with India over Kashmir for decades.

      • Zahra says:

        I am a Pakistani we were always taught that we are south asian.We are proud of it.and then you visit the world and you are treated just like any other are being checked at the have to stop and go through extra secutiy measures with other muslims(surprisingly does middle east inculde any other religion majority country)SO yes if you visist both countries meaning india and Pakistan,you can tell the difference.Now why we dont wanna associate with india ,just because even to this day indians in US have been rude to me on my face about being from pakistan and a muslim,they some how think that being a hindu is better than being a muslim.I am sorry who would want to associate with that.the culture stand out as different when you visit the countries,even indian muslims have said that they find it different.Pakistan is overwhelmingly no we dont think we are faking it we call ourselves asian even when we chose an ethnicity.Middle east is asia too.That is term given by europeans.Some how it just stuck.

      • teacakes says:

        @Zahra I’m really sad you’ve experienced such awful behaviour from Indians in the US – there’s a strain of Hindu fundamentalism that lurks there and doesn’t get as much publicity as the ISIS etc kind, but it’s nasty and awful and poses a risk every day to those of us who aren’t Hindu . And that’s a lot of Indians too, getting told they’re foreign traitors (if we’re Muslim or Christian) or just killed outright and getting no justice (Sikhs).

        I do feel like the two countries have a lot in common, but that unites as well as divides us. And I’m not happy about the current state of bilateral affairs at all.

  24. Laura says:

    Isn’t the “Middle East” still Asia?!? 🤔

  25. me says:

    Makes me wonder what kind of conversations these two have with each other that she doesn’t even know he’s half Asian not Middle Eastern.

  26. Joni says:

    Lots of mental gymnastics in this comment section. Pakistan is not in the middle east, no matter which way you spin it. She’s not very bright, is she….

  27. iseepinkelefants says:

    If she says it to a paper she’s probably said it to her boyfriend as well and he’s never corrected her so why is the geography police attacking a model (she’s not a polisci major). This reminds me of when people would correct me when I would say my boyfriend’s name wrong. I say it like Ad-rien but he’s French, we live in France and people would always correct me or get angry at me for not saying Add-ri-on. When I would tell him this he would say they can go f*** themselves, he doesn’t mind it, he likes it, so why should I care what strangers think. Correct her for getting the geography wrong but if it doesn’t bother him, get off her back.

    And I also think it’s cute that these two are a half Muslim power couple. In today’s current climate the younger generation is learning not to be fearful. It’s good. I doubt anyone looks up to her for her smarts

  28. msd says:

    Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

  29. Radley says:

    Zayn’s “ex-fiancee” thought he was Indian so either Zayn is faking it badly with these ladies or he needs to open up a lot more. My guess is faking it.

    • me says:

      My guess is Zayn is not a deep conversationalist…he likes pretty things and that’s it lol. I doubt he has deep conversations with the girls he dates.

      • Radley says:

        Wow, that’s super insulting not just to him but to the girls you think he dates. No. That doesn’t seem likely. Seems like you’ve bought into his public image, which is very different from the playful, goofy kid who seemed to have a crush on his bandmate, Liam.

        Beware Hollywood smoke and mirrors.

  30. Payal says:

    News Flash: Girl raised to have her picture taken for a living is illiterate.

  31. emma says:

    Well Pakistan also shares a border with Iran. I know that it’s technically south Asia, but did all you truly know that Pakistan or Afghanistan isn’t technically the middle east? They’re all Asian countries.

  32. Littlestar says:

    What the heck are breakfast beans?

  33. NeoCleo says:

    Too much money and not enough education.

  34. Bethany says:

    He is just beautiful. The end.

  35. Amelie says:

    I give her a pass. To all those superior in geography, Middle East is a loosely defined geographic designation that encompasses countries in both Africa and Asia. Pakistan is not that far away and I’m guessing shares many cultural characteristics with other Middle Eastern countries. I for one never learned the “official” location of the Middle East in school and to be honest I don’t really care. It’s a geographic classification that means very little.

    Kind of like when I ask people if Mexico is part of North or South America. Is Central America part of North or South America? Nobody can seem to agree.

  36. Sasha says:

    Shrug. Culturally Pakistan became closer to the Middle East than to South Asia.
    All these divisions of South Asia/ Central Asia/ Middle East/ Far East are more fluid than people think, due to intercultural and religious influences.

  37. dandan38 says:

    It would be great if we all could be prime geographically, but this I have to let slide(maybe because it doesn’t affect me?). Schools just don’t teach this kinda stuff often times. What’s really atrocious is how little Americans know about their OWN country! Nevermind where Pakistan is, I’ve heard a couple people mention New York being a part of New England! I know it’s close, but c’mon!

  38. MellyMel says:

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. If you ask most Americans if Pakistan is in the Middle East, they would say yes. Whether or not that is some post 9/11-Bush era nonsense or lack of world geography knowledge , it’s a fact. I had to look at the map to double check myself. Also her saying breakfast beans differentiates between Heinz (?) beans and baked beans. We eat baked beans & if I said I was eating beans on toast, ppl would think I had lost my mind and tastebuds. Give the girl a break. She’s a high school educated model not a Rhodes Scholar.

    • Payal says:

      Just because most Americansmight say the same thing doesn’t make it any less dumb. And this is supposedly her boyfriend she’s talking about.

    • Sixer says:

      “Because Americans say so” is not a particularly good reason for imposing an identity on people who may not want it.

  39. Mew says:

    Oh wow the comments…. Poor girl getting told.

  40. HK9 says:

    The girl is cute but has no sense.

  41. Hala Al-B. says:

    I always find the American attitude to race peculiar. It has a “one-drop rule” strangeness to it.

    I am Palestinian. Gigi is half Palestinian. We are quite racially diverse. I would be considered “brown”. Gigi’s Palestinian family is a white Palestinian family. In Palestine it is about a 70/30 split between those “white” and “brown”, and we always self-identify as white when asked. Most Palestinians would be offended to be labelled as anything other than white. Most of us may be Muslim, but religion =/= race. Yet she is always mentioned in terms of how diverse the pop-culture moment is. No. Not true.

    I am proud that a woman with Palestinian origins is easily name dropped now, but let’s not kid ourselves that Gigi is diverse. She’s the daughter of a white Arab father and a white Dutch mother. She’s blonde, blue-eyed and conventionally pretty. I sometimes think certain industries try to congratulate themselves the most (“Look at how diverse we are!”) when they’ve done the absolute least (she’s a white model with an uncommon in the US surname). There is no way we can actually go forward in pushing diversity unless we have a little honesty.

    I am sorry if this point is badly made, but English is not my first language and Arabic would not allow my point to be read by people who could broaden their European/American horizons with reading it.

    • Jennah says:

      I think a lot of confusion stems from the American government way of defining ethnicity.

      In the US, where you are from is considered your ethnicity. So my cousins are Mexican of Spanish descent but were born in Switzerland. When they applies to come to the US, the US government said that as their place of birth was Switzerland, then we label your ethnicity as Swiss.

      Not excusing it, just the messenger for how things get convoluted, in terms of origin, ethnicity.

      The US would consider Zayn of English ethnicity if he was born in England, despite his being a Pakistani man.

  42. A says:

    Okay, but there are grown adults (often some who commentate on politics on public news channels) who refer to Pakistan as being in the Middle East.

    Heck, I know some Pakistanis who refer to themselves as Middle Eastern, even though they have no discernible ME ancestry on either side of their family (both parents are from Pakistan, as are their grandparents, and so on).

    So I’m not going to give Gigi so much flack for this. For all we know, Zayn could be referring to himself as Middle Eastern. She could be talking about their shared background, which in some instances can be fairly similar since both of them have at least one Muslim parent. She could just be getting the wires crossed up in her mind. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter.

  43. Jessie says:

    The Middle East is a region that consists of countries in southwest Asia and Northern Africa. She’s not wrong on calling him half middle eastern.

  44. shewolf says:

    A lot of Pakistani’s (and Muslim Indians) think of themselves as Middle Eastern and I know a few who will tell you, rather critically, that they think this because they feel subservient to Arabs… like some sort of subpar Muslim.

    • Zahra says:

      no we dont think we are subservient or something.infact they needed our help more than we needed theirs.Our army has helped them,our pilots trained their biggest airline emirates ,so many other things…

  45. jackie says:

    Lebanon , Palestine , Jordan Saudi Arabia and other countries are asian and middle eastern

  46. Marzy K says:

    I can’t believe this is the article that has finally made me drop my long time lurking for actual commenting. As a North American born Pakistani (both sides of the family), it’s really not a big deal to get lumped in as ‘Middle Eastern’. I’ll occasionally self-identify as being from the Middle East, due to the geo politics in the region, and the fact that I visit family who’ve moved to Arab countries (legit Middle East) as frequently as I go back to Pakistan. There are some pretty snide anti-Gigi comments on this article… pretty unwarranted IMO. (Also some of the stuff that reads like ‘white feminism’ is really driving me nuts.)

  47. TotallyBiased says:

    Well, the US military has been referring to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and the like as “SouthWest Asian Zone” on orders for years, while our newscasters discussed nightly what was happening in the Middle East. So it isn’t as if there’s a clear idea in the national consciousness.
    I remember figuring out that a friend in London was referring to another mutual friend when he mentioned Asian, which was confusing to my perception because the friend was definitely Indian (and as India is a sub-continent, there’s precedent for that delineation, geographically.)
    I am interested in how Asian is defined by CBers, other than by geography.

  48. Snarkasm says:

    Stand by – Someone is going to be offended!