Islam and Me: Narrating a Diaspora (Other Voices of Italy) (Hardcover)
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Growing up in Mogadishu, Somalia, Shirin Ramzanali Fazel was immersed in the language and culture of Italy, Somalia’s former colonizer. Yet when she moved to Italy as a young mother in the 1970s, she discovered a country where immigrants and Muslims were viewed with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion–where, even today, she and her children must seemingly prove they are Italian.
In Islam and Me, Fazel tells her story and shares the experiences of other Muslim women living in Italy, revealing the wide variety of Muslim identities and the common prejudices they encounter. Looking at Italian school textbooks, newspapers, and TV programs, she invites us to change the way Muslim immigrants, and especially women, are depicted in both news reports and scholarly research. Islam and Me is a meditation on our multireligious, multiethnic, and multilingual reality, as well as an exploration of how we might reimagine national culture and identity so that they become more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist.
About the Author
SHIRIN RAMZANALI FAZEL is an Italian writer of Somali origins. She has published two collections of poetry, Wings and I Suckled Sweetness, as well as two novels, Far from Mogadishu and Clouds over the Equator, that deal with the effects of Italian colonialism in Somalia and her experience of migration to Italy.
SIMONE BRIONI is an associate professor in the Department of English at Stony Brook University in New York and an affiliated faculty member in the Departments of Africana Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
“In this thought-provoking reflection on belonging, Fazel and Brioni make a powerful argument against damaging Eurocentric representations while demonstrating the generative anti-racist capacity of collaborative knowledge.”
— Heather Merrill
"Shirin Ramzanali Fazel narrates the daily life of diasporic Islam in Europe with deep lucidity and courage. This book shows that Islam has become the religion of European citizens, not just immigrants, and that diasporic Islam is a major test for European constitutional democracy."
— Amara Lakhous
“Deftly blending self-reflection with critical analysis, Fazel and Brioni convincingly challenge the distorted representation of Islam in Europe by offering complex, unapologetic insights into Fazel’s lived experiences as a Somali-Italian Muslim woman.”
— Maya Angela Smith
“Poetic and autobiographical, Islam and Me examines the intersection of media, memory, and language while questioning traditional models of knowledge. As a Muslim woman in one of the world’s most distinctively Catholic countries, Fazel advocates for transnational belonging, and her witness is for everyone working towards more equitable societies today.”
— Marie Orton