Transnational Islam and Muslim Politics: Policies, Identities, and Ideologies
Challenges to Muslim Identity in Transnational Spaces: A Comparative Study of Diaspora Fictions After 9/11Sajaudeen Nijamodeen Chapparban
The increase in terrorist attacks at the verge of the 21st century and the politics of associating Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists have brought the subject of Islam and Muslims under serious investigation among scholars of the humanities and social sciences. New vocabulary words such as jihad [struggle], Sharia [Islamic law], Dar alHarb [house of war], Dar al-Islam [house of Islam], hijab [headscarf], al-Qaeda, mujaheddin [jihadist], Taliban, and kafir [disbeliever] were introduced into political and intellectual debates along with new phraseologies such as Islamic terrorism, Islamic extremism, Islamization, Talibanization, Islamic fascism, Islamic jihad, the Green Terror, and Islamic bomb into the daily lexicon to malign the image of Islam and Muslims and to strengthen biased arguments. This chapter aims to analyze the literary response of Muslim writers regarding diaspora and the negative projection of the Muslim identity and stereotypes, especially after the 9/11 incident. The questions are addressed through select literary texts on topics such as how the Muslim identity and hijab identity came under the spotlight of racial and cultural discrimination in Western societies. The study discusses texts such as the Pakastani-Brit H.M. Naqvi’s (2009) Home Boy, PakistaniAmerican-Brit Mohsin Hamid’s (2007) The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Lebanese-American Laila Halaby’s (2007) Once in a Promised Land, Palestinian-Egyptian-Australian Randa Abdel-Fattah’s (2005) Does My Head Look Big in This?, Indian-British Shelina Zahra Jan Mohamed’s (2009) Love in a Headscarf, and Bangladeshi-British Monica Ali’s (2003) Brick Lane. The chapter argues that, despite the ongoing international propaganda campaign against Muslims, they have revisited and reclaimed their identities and resisted and exposed the biases in the contemporary discourses against Islam and Muslims.