INTERROGATING THE DILEMMA OF MUSLIM IMMIGRANTS’ CULTURAL INTEGRATION IN LEILA ABOULELA’S MINARET AND LAILA LALAMI’S THE OTHER AMERICANS
For Muslim immigrants residing in a culturally disparate reality, maintaining the ‘purity’ of their ‘Muslimness’ is rather burdensome as well as controversial given the nature of the new receiving culture in one part; and due to the ‘mismatch’ lying between some Muslim immigrants and their ‘deformed’ perception of Islam as faith in another. This paper investigates the intricacies of the Muslim immigrants’ integration process in the Western culture/cultures, given they carry a cultural load drastically non-identical with the Western secular reality. More particularly, it qualitatively looks into the cultural in-betweeness of the Muslim immigrants as regards their way of life in the West in Leila Aboulela’s Minaret and Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans. Through these two literary samples, thus, this paper seeks to analyse some dimensions of the ‘hegemony’ the Western culture exerts on this minority, discuss whether or not these immigrants can preserve their identity despite such cultural pressure; and also assess their current and future horizons of their integration into this distinct Western cultural environment.
Keywords: Integration; Cultural in-Betweeness; Hegemony; Religiosity, Muslimness; Islamophobia; Secularism