Aversion and Desire: Negotiating Muslim Female Identity in by Shahnaz Khan

By Shahnaz Khan

Shahnaz Khan offers the voices of Muslim ladies on how they build and maintain their Islamic id. Khan interviewed fourteen Muslim ladies approximately their experience of strength, authenticity and position. Her serious research demanding situations the Western belief of Islam as monolithic and static.

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Additional info for Aversion and Desire: Negotiating Muslim Female Identity in the Diaspora

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These women find that disavowal of themselves as Muslim does not mean that they encounter less sexism or are able to resolve the exclusionary status in which they are positioned in Canada. Disavowal of Islam, however, does place them at odds with their community and families. Hence they end up facing not only exclusion from the dominant culture but frequently ostracism as well from their families and communities. Safieh, Zubaida, and Nikhat's narratives suggest that they want to escape from the contradictions of being Muslim through disavowal and even conversion to another religion, but cannot.

Karima is the only woman whom I did not find through this type of sampling. As part of the interview process, Safieh and I had gone out for lunch, and Karima was our waitress. She said that she was a Muslim from Iran, and I asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed about her experiences in Canada. I had originally envisioned an empirical approach and used a questionnaire that posed questions about age, education, and employment experiences (see appendix). As the interviews progressed, I began to see patterns in the women's responses, which led me to devise an interview format more like a conversation.

And women's narratives suggest ambivalence in their feelings, talk, and behavior, expressing emotional uncertainty and indecision. In attempts at resolving the ambivalence that the individual women encounter in the construct, some women attempt to reject identification as Muslim women and the uneven determinations that produce contradictions in their lives. It is to these women that I now turn. Safieh, Zubaida, and Nikhat appear to be responding to the race and gender position in which they have been constructed by dominant discourses.

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