My Son the Fanatic

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Religion is ignorance?
For many years, the various religions of the world have been of great importance as identity markers among a number of different cultures. There are many ways to practice one’s values and beliefs, and religion has, quite obvious, not just been the root of solidarity and intellectual fellowship. In the bigger perspective, religious differences have led to war and other severe disagreements. Gradually as the world has become globalized, people, and especially Muslims, are immigrating more and more extensively. This can certainly be profitable for those, who move to a better and safer environment, for instance from the Middle East to the Western world, but it might also come with the price of big difficulty. The matter of adjusting to a completely different society can be hard when having to maintain one’s cultural background at the same time as embracing others’. In his short story “My Son the Fanatic”, Hanif Kureishi treats the drawbacks of immigrating while bringing it together with more universal matters such as growing up. We are introduced to the Pakistani protagonist Parvez, who once migrated from his native country. He now lives in England with his wife and their son, Ali, who hasn’t been brought up very religiously in spite of them being Muslims. This is presumably related to some unpleasant happenings that Parvez has experienced while learning the Koran during his childhood, and since that, he has “avoided all religions”. Therefore, Parvez and his son behave, more or less, like ordinary Englishmen – nonetheless when looking on the surface. Ali has a girlfriend, plays videogames and watches TV. Parvez drinks alcohol, and his best friend is a prostitute named Bettina. But all of the sudden, Ali changes radically; he becomes rude, grows a beard, breaks up with his English girlfriend, throws out his expensive belongings, and, what’s worse, he grows to be his own father’s antagonist by disrespecting, scaring and ignoring him. At first...
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