Islamization vs. Islamophobia: A New Historicist Reading of Cold War Politics in Contemporary Pakistani Anglophone Fiction


: Islamization and Islamophobia present two different narratives. Since Cold War, these two narratives have been influencing Muslims globally, especially Pakistan due to its support of Talibanization during the Soviet (communist) invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s initial support of Talibanization in coalition with America, where the country yielded a religiously extremist status, provides a premise to suspect America and the West’s (capitalists) role in its development. The treatment of the very ‘Muslim identity in the pre-Cold War and the post-Cold War contexts reveals an interesting shift in the Western approach towards Muslims. The pre-Cold War era shows overt Western support for the narrative of Islamization in Muslim countries, whereas the post-Cold War era shows a sudden bounce of anti-Muslim sentiments in the West. This shift calls into question the role of power in the development of both narratives. Using Stephen Greenblatt’s critique of self-fashioning, subversion, containment, and power, we aim to explore both narratives concerning the selected Pakistani Anglophone fiction: Muhammad Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008) and Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album (1995). The current article concludes that Islamization and Islamophobia are both political policies that have been serving the interest of power to contain the subversions it encountered in different forms. We also suggest that both narratives exploit the discursive forms (literary and non-literary) of the particular era where they are recorded.


Malik Haroon Afzal, Mohamad Rashidi Mohd Pakri, and Nurul Farhana Low Abdullah


Cold War, containment, Islamization, Islamophobia, orthodox texts, subversion