Living with Belief: Politics of Religion in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane
Terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in September 2001 have spawned myriad discourses in various disciplines over the past eighteen years. Framing Muslims as a homogeneous and sinister “Other” of the West, much of the post-9/11 Islamophobic discourse slaps a monolithic group identity upon the Muslims and thereby ignore the diasporic Muslims’ heterogeneous lived experiences at the level of the individual and the family. Monica Ali’s Brick Lane offers an alternative narrative to the hegemony of Islamophobia. By foregrounding the personal lives of the subalterns living as immigrants in the United Kingdom, the novel investigates various contours of the diaspora’s hyphenated identity. The politics of religion explored in the novel problematizes the monolithic Islamophobic discourse that lies at the very centre of the so called War on Terror. By using Althusser’s concept of Ideology as a lens, the paper investigates how the novel’s unravelling of a hybrid identity provides resistance to the Western hegemonic understanding of Muslims.
Keywords: living with belief, politics of religion, Islamophobia