Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures

Westernized Scarf

December 10th, 2014 · No Comments

photo (13)

This creative piece not only represents my response to The Reluctant Fundamentalist but also represents a more general view of Islam in the West. This scarf was made by laying different colored tissue paper on a white silk scarf and spraying it with water and product to allow the colors of the tissue paper to soak in. After I let the colors soak in, I removed the tissue paper and the colors remained. I think this scarf can be an accurate symbol for the lives of Muslims in the West. This is not to say that everyone’s experience is the same, but as we saw in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, people often have to hide certain parts of their identities in order to conform to the society in which they live. In France, for example, women are not allowed to wear burqas. The scarf that I made represents a westernized version of a hijab and is supposed to be a symbol of how people are forced to express their religion and their faith in different ways depending on where they are. Additionally, the scarf has purple and pink spots on it that are not completely overlapping and do not cover all of the white on the scarf. We had an interesting discussion in class about assimilation and what would happen if people did not have things to identify them, if everyone was on the same level as a way to eliminate oppression and discrimination. I believe that the different marks on my scarf are marks of individuality and the inability to completely assimilate. As Changez experienced in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, even though he had a high valued job and an expensive education, he could never fully conform or lose his identity as a Muslim Pakistani. Despite the Americanization that people go through, willingly or not, there are always parts of their religious and cultural identity that remain. This piece was interesting for me, because it is a different piece entirely when you lay it flat compared to when it is worn. When you wear it, you cannot completely discern all the details from the scarf, but when it is examined on the floor, you begin to see all the aspects that come together. 

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