Islamophobia, Othering and the Sense of Loss: Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies
Keywords: islamophobia, Leila Aboulela, Muslim immigrants, other, terrorist, The Kindness of Enemies
Muslims’ image in the West had completely changed since 9/11, 2001. This paper uses the textual analysis method to explore Leila Aboulela as a writer with a sophisticated commitment to Islam who strives to counteract the biased perception of Islam and Muslims. Drawing on the views of Wail Hassan, the study focuses on Leila Aboulela’s novel The Kindness of Enemie to examine the author’s concern of Muslims’ image in the west after the 9/11 terrorist attack and its impact on Muslims, particularly the immigrants. It argues that Aboulela uses Imam Shamil as a metaphor to debunk the terrorist attacks that target innocent people under the pretext of Islam, and on the other hand, setting a good example of the concept of jihad. The findings show that Aboulela’s primary concern is to condemn terrorist operations against innocent people worldwide. To illustrate her views, the author uses two contrasted pictures, the historical story of Imam Shamil, who embodies the proper jihadist/resistance vis-à-vis with the current so-called jihadists. The study further shows that those terrorist acts have significantly impacted Muslims’ lives and are the first cause of contemporary racism, islamophobia, and the sense of loss among Muslim immigrants in the west.