AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February 2021 Pp. 144-158
Islamophobia, Othering and the Sense of Loss: Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies
Khaled Abkar Alkodimi
Department of English Language and Literature, College of Languages and Translation
Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
Received: 11/10/2020 Accepted: 2/1/2021 Published: 2/24/2021
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.
Key Words: islamophobia, Leila Aboulela, Muslim immigrants, other, terrorist, The Kindness of Enemies
Cite as: Alkodimi, K. A. (2021). Islamophobia, Othering and the Sense of Loss: Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1) 144-158.
Aboulela, L. (2005). Minaret. London: Bloomsbury.
Aboulela, L . (2015). The Kindness of Enemies. New York: Grove Press.
Al-Karawi, S. Taha & Bahar, Ida Baizura. (2014). Negotiating the Veil and Identity in Leila
Aboulela’s Minaret. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies. 14, (3): 255-268.
Alkodimi, K., A. (2019). New Perspectives in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: Righting the Wrong
through metaphor in Mornings in Jenin. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and
English Literature. 8, (6): 132-138.
Alzubaidi, D. (2016). Leila Aboulela discusses The Kindness of Enemies. The Arab Weekly.
Retrieved June 30, 2020 from https://thearabweekly.com/leila-aboulela-discusses-kindness- enemies.
Ancellin, K. (2009, July 8). Hybrid Identities of Characters in Muslim women fiction post 9-11.
Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. Retrieved July 10, 2020, http://trans.revues.org/344
Awad, Y. (2014). Writing from the Margins of the Nation: Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley. Arab
World English journal. (2): 69-81.
Benguesmia, A. and Refice, Oum. (2019). Hybrid Identities and Muslim Faith in Leila
Aboulela’s Novels: Minaret and The Translator. MA. Diss. University of M’ sila.
Bleich, E. (2012). Defining and Researching Islamophobia. Review of Middle East Studies. 46,
Braithwaite, K. (2017). The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela. Book Review. Retrieved
July 16, 2020 from https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/3345/the-kindness-of-enemies
Carroll, R . (2016, January 3). A Muslim woman struggles with identity in the novel ‘The
Kindness of Enemies’ by Leila Aboulela. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 8, 2020 from https://www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-leila-aboulela-20160103-story.html
Flicker. (2020, April 17). Sudanese Novelist Leila Aboulela Becomes International Figure
Through Religion, Alienation. Retrieved July 17, 2020 from https://fanack.com/sudan/faces/leila-aboulela/.
Frey, L., Botan, C., & Kreps, G. (1999). Investigating communication: An introduction to
research methods. (2nd ed.) Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hasan, Md. M. (2015). Seeking Freedom in the “Third Space” of Diaspora: Muslim Women’s
Identity in Aboulela’s Minaret and Janmohamed’s Love in a Headscarf. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. 35. 1: 89–105.
Hassan, W. S. (2011). Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural translation in Arab
American and Arab British Literature. USA: Oxford University Press.
Khalifa, M. A. (2011). Muslim Women Write Back: Hybridity, Islam and the Quest for situations.
PhD. Diss. Cairo University.
Khrisat, A. (2018). The Image of the Oriental Muslim in Lord Byron’s The Giaour. English
Language and Literature Studies. 8, (3): 59-70.
Raina, S. A. (2009). Critical Content Analysis of Postcolonial Texts: Representations of Muslims
within Children’s and Adolescent Literature. PhD. Diss. The University of Arizona.
Ramji, R. (2016). Examining the Critical Role American Popular Film Continues to Play in
Maintaining the Muslim Terrorist Image, Post 9/11. Journal of Religion & Film. 20 (1). The 2015 International Conference on Religion and Film in Istanbul.