Blog Post 5, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

AIU57 Blog Post Image _ Islam Meets America _ The Reluctant Fundamentalist


For much of the United States of America’s history, the nation has been characterized by strong Christian sentiments, those bore by the early European settlers of the land. But, with historic immigration of people from other nations, religions other than Christianity made way into the United States and found welcome venues across the nation. One of these religions, clearly, is Islam, a religion whose entry into the United States is (strongly) associated with the sack of the Spanish Moors in the 17th century and the later arrival of Muslim Africans as slaves in the newly founded nation. In spite of this early introduction of Islam to the United States, the religion largely remained a less recognized part of the nation’s social and cultural fabrics, arguably until the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center by some radical Islamic terrorists. The results of this tragedy included Americans paying much closer attention to Islam and very unfortunately a significant portion of Americans doubting the patriotism of Muslim-Americans. Indeed, Muslim-Americans, and many who appeared to be Muslims, were met with my disdain in the wake of the tragedy.

The unfortunate aftermath of the 9/11 bombings are captured by Mohsin Hamid in his The Reluctant Fundamentalist, in which Changez, the protagonist, tells of the hatred he and other Arab-looking inhabitants of the US faced after 9/11. My creative work is a ubiquitous symbol of Islam pen-colored in red, white and blue – the colors of the US national flag. By depicting the US national colors, my artwork shows the intertwine between the United States’ history and Islamic influence while suggesting that indeed Muslims can be and are a loyal part of our nation. In Changez’s encounter with the American tourist in Pakistan, in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the former Princeton University student very early informs the American of his love for America. In that information is a voice of many Muslim-Americans, who still seek to tell America that they love the nation and are strong patriots of the nation.

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