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Islamic Fundamentalism - Book Report/Review Example

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An immigrant, like thousands others, Parvez, the Pakistani taxi driver, arrives in London for a better life. Set in East London, Hanif Kureishi's, My Son the Fanatic, is a short story that deals with religious and social conflicts between two distinctly different cultures and countries and brings about the rift in a father-son relation, each of whom represents the opposing forces…
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Islamic Fundamentalism
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Download file to see previous pages Though the exact background of Parvez's coming to Britain is not revealed in the story, we can assume that he was one of the thousands of immigrants to have come to UK from the commonwealth, presumable by obtaining a work permit. Like most immigrants, the dream of a better life, so that his son, Ali, can grow up in privileged circumstances, be a model citizen, and an established person, accepted socially and culturally in Britain. To Parvez, the change that he witnesses in Ali is nothing less than betrayal. His entire attempt to support Ali, with all the essentials and luxuries - good suits, books, computer, guitar, TV - has been his attempts to make Ali's life simple and better than his own. Parvez feels let down that Ali has not reciprocated to his efforts by being a responsible son. Parvez shares his confusion about Ali, with Bettina, his confederate and friend. Bettina is a prostitute, who has known Parvez for three years. At all junctures of the story, Bettina is seen to provide the right support and advice to Parvez. When at his wit's end, Parvez says that he will ask his son to leave the house, Bettina says, "But you mustn't give up on him. Many young men fall into cultsbut that doesn't mean that they'll always feel the same way." Bettina understands Parvez's sorrow, his love for his son; seeing the turmoil that Parvez is undergoing.

Ali can be best described as what philosopher Wendy Brown describes as a case of 'politicized identity,' which is created as a reaction to power. The exclusion by society, results in humiliation and suffering, and leads to rage and righteousness. And such righteous rage can only think of the individuals, or the group's liberation through an attitude of reproach, revolt, and by punishing the responsible society, than look for ways of self affirming actions. When asked by his father "What has made you like this" Ali replies "Living in this country." He always suffers from what he terms as, "being made to feel inferior in your own country." Because of her feeling for Parvez, Bettina one day tries to talk to Ali; she asks him how his college is going on. Ali's reply - 'who are you to ask these questions' shows that he holds Bettina with contempt.' To Ali, Bettina is the manifestation of all that he holds with disapproval and hatred in the Western culture. 'The West was a sink of hypocrites, adulterers, homosexuals, drug users and prostitutes,' and according to Ali his father was becoming estranged in this culture and losing his history, heritage, and identity.

Parvez realizes that Ali, his son, is going through a problem. His attitude infuriates and disturbs Parvez, as he feels the distance between them growing. Parvez decides to have a word with Ali, and to this purpose he takes a night off and takes Ali out. There as Parvez has his drink, Ali is critical of him. Ali's disgust and the way he points out to his father what is right and wrong - according to Koran, the religious book of Muslims, alcohol, pork meat, gambling, etc are forbidden - infuriates Parvez, who considers himself a hard-working, honest man, with a conscience, and takes pride in the fact that he had led a decent life. "When have I had time to be wicked' he asks Ali, in anguish. The turning point in the relation was this meeting, when for the first time their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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