Identity Crisis and Memory : A Discussion of Anti-Islamism, Xenophobia and Racism in Leila Aboulela’s Short Story The Ostrich
Keywords:Anti-Islamism , identity, memory, racism, xenophobia
Last two decades have witnessed dramatic increases in anti-Islamism, xenophobia, and racism in Asia, Europe, and the USA particularly in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. This paper argues how Leila Aboulela represents this rising anti-Islamic, xenophobic and racist attitudes and discourses in her short story The Ostrich. the paper is simply divided into parts. The first part closely examines in the story how anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim and racial discourses and attitudes create a sense of identity crisis through Aboulela’s representation of her chief character Samra who feels herself psychologically and physically crippled, abused and alienated in the UK. The second part of the paper discusses how Aboulela invents a strategy of memory which keeps her character Samara psychologically alive, “intact” and “unchanged” in the face of humiliation, disgrace, ostracism and exclusion. In the story, Samra often recalls her beautiful memories with the Ostrich, her classmate at the college, as well as her memories of how her country provided her with a sense of belonging, dignity, grace, security and unity. As the paper discusses, therefore, memory heals Samra’s injured psyche and keeps her alive and intact amid her identity crisis caused by the rising anti-Islamic, xenophobic and racist attitudes and discourses in the UK.
Bal, H. S. (2020, March 4). Why Muslims are under attack in India. Retrieved from https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/why-muslims-are-under-attack-in-india-1.70143936
Cainkar, L. A. (2009). Homeland insecurity: the Arab American and Muslim American experience after 9/11. New York City, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Connolly, K. (2020, Feb. 17). Germany's Muslims call for protection after 'far-right terror plot' arrests. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/germanys-muslims-call-for-protection-after-far-right-terror-plot-arrests
Corbin, C. M. (2017). Terrorists Are Always Muslim but Never White: At the Intersection of Critical Race Theory and Propaganda. Fordham Law Review, 86(2), 455-485. Retrieved from https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5437&context=flr
Dabashi, H. (2020, February 2020). The world in grips of an epidemic more dangerous than coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/world-grips-epidemic-dangerous-coronavirus-200220183206485.html?fbclid=IwAR2om7QZT1ATuGNy1bo48hXWusvkcehfCITwdCltgpximkiPcZwfq6IBNAc
Esposito, J. L. and Mogahed, D. (2007). Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. New York: Gallup Press.
Gonen, s. (2020, March 13). Islamophobia an ossified problem worldwide with no solution in sight. Daily Sabah. Retrieved from https://www.dailysabah.com/world/asia-pacific/islamophobia-an-ossified-problem-worldwide-with-no-solution-in-sight
Huntington, S. P. (1996). The Clash of Civilisation and the Remaking of the World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Husain, A. and Howard, S. (2017). Religious Microaggressions: A Case Study of Muslim Americans. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 26 (1/2), 139.
Kartal, G. A. (2020, Feb. 2020). German attacks show Islamophobia poison: UK Muslims. Retrieved from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/german-attack-shows-islamophobic-poison-uk-muslims/1739669
Kiyagan, A. (2019, April 2). Islamophobia on the rise in Austria. Retrieved from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/islamophobia-on-the-rise-in-austria/1440623
Macaulay, T. B. (1835). Minute. Retrieved from http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_minute_education_1835.html
Malik, K, (2020, Marc 1). The violence in Delhi is not a ‘riot’. It is targeted anti-Muslim brutality. Retrieved from
McMahon, R. J. (2003). The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP.
More, R. (2019, July 15). Donald Trump's tweets telling congresswomen to ‘go back' to 'original places' they came from may just be the start. Retrieved from https://www.itv.com/news/2019-07-15/donald-trumps-tweets-telling-congresswomen-to-go-back-to-original-places-they-came-from-may-just-be-the-start/
Mora, N. (2009). Orientalist discourse in media texts. International Journal of Human Sciences, 6(2), 418-427. Available: file:///C:/Users/a.gunes/Downloads/857-Article%20Text-2780-1-10-20091017.pdf
Moten, A. R. (2012) ashid. “Understanding and Ameliorating Islamophobia”. Cultura: International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology, 9(l), 155- 178.
Nia, O. T. (2019, Dec. 3). Islamophobia poses “real danger”: German Official. Retrieved from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/islamophobia-poses-real-danger-german-official/1662726
Said. E. (2003). Orientalism. New York: Vintage.
Silverstein, J. (2019, July 15). Trump tells Democratic congresswomen of colour to "go back" to their countries. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-racist-tweets-progressive-democratic-congresswomen-go-back-to-countries-nancy-pelosi-slam-president/
Subrahmaniam, V. (2020, March 7). India's Muslims are punished for asking to be Indian. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/india-muslims-punished-indian-200306190342176.html.
What is Orientalism? Retrieved from http://arabstereotypes.org/why-stereotypes/what-orientalism
Yazbeck, Y. and Harb, N. N. (2014). Post-9/11: Making Islam an American Religion. Religions, 5, 477–501. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/a.gunes/Downloads/Post-911_Making_Islam_an_American_Religion.pdf
Yglesias, M. (2019, July 18). Trump’s racist tirades against “the Squad,” explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2019/7/15/20694616/donald-trump-racist-tweets-omar-aoc-tlaib-pressley
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Ali Gunes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.