The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Negotiating Post-9/11 Muslim Identity

Tufail Muhammad Chandio


This study aims to trace the trajectory of identity of Changez Khan, a Muslim protagonist in Mohsin Hamid’s Novel: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). The protagonist is a Pakistani, cultural Muslim immigrant, who succeeds in getting quality education and subsequent lucrative job in his dreamland – the USA. There occurs 9/11 with heavy backlash, discrimination, profiling and islamophobia that term Muslims as others of America and terrorist or danger indispensable. Media has a significant role in developing the negative image of Muslims, which ultimately change the perception of public at large. This binary oppositional status and backlash at personal, professional and public levels require Changez to negotiate his identity as a member of minority outgroup and adjust his place in the majority ingroup host society. Thus, the course of multiple identities, he was undergoing, gets disrupted and he opts reactive identity construct (Nagra, 2011), which brings him back to his original identity prototype. Though he is a cultural Muslim, he never practices religious orthodoxy, however, treating all Muslims with same approach in the west is the reason which compulsively unites Muslims to retaliate unanimously. Changez being a fresh immigrant returns home, Pakistan. If he had been first or second generation American Muslim, the course of action would have been different.


Post-9/11 Fiction; Muslim Identity; 9/11; The Reluctant Fundamentalist; immigrant

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