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Writing British MuslimsReligion, class and multiculturalism$
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Ahmed Rehana

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087400

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087400.001.0001

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Creative freedom and community constraint in Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers

Creative freedom and community constraint in Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers

Chapter:
(p.154) 5 Creative freedom and community constraint in Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers
Source:
Writing British Muslims
Author(s):

Ahmed Rehana

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719087400.003.0006

While not itself the subject of a controversy, Nadeem Aslam’s 2004 novel Maps for Lost Lovers, the focus of Chapter 5, thematises and explores the politics of minority offence and the binary of individual freedom versus cultural censure and censorship that has framed responses to controversies surrounding artistic representations of Islam and Muslims. In tracing the presence and complication of this binary in Maps for Lost Lovers, the chapter explores how far the novel gets beyond the gendered culturalist discourses that have underpinned pronouncements on the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism from both left and right. It argues that despite contextualising the oppressors’ behaviour within their own disempowerment in Britain, the novel appears to present just two alternative positions: individual withdrawal and dissent from community, culture and faith, or complicity with the community’s oppressive practices whose victims are primarily its women and children. The potential for a positive communitarianism formed around religious culture is constantly deflected or stymied, often through a focus on the abuse of women, so that a thoroughgoing multiculturalism predicated on a ‘politics of recognition’ and a commitment to gender equality are held in tension.

Keywords:   Nadeem Aslam, Maps for Lost Lovers, communitarianism, gender equality, politics of recognition, failure of multiculturalism, creative freedom, censorship, censure, honour crime

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