'The Clashing of Two Swords': Religious extremism as a result of identity crisis in Zadie Smith's White Teeth

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Following some disastrous events, such as the 9/11 bombings in the US and the public transport bombings in London on 7 July 2005, the lives of British Muslims changed immensely. These events, as well as many others, led to racist attacks and negative portrayals in the media. Muslims in Britain have become one of the most disadvantaged minorities in various areas of everyday life, such as in education and employment. Being constantly questioned on their ability to integrate and their loyalty to Britain has put them in a vulnerable position, in some cases leading to religious extremism as a violent reaction. Many factors and processes precede this ultimate radicalisation, which is what this thesis will examine. Combining a postcolonial framework with a close reading of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, this study will delve deeper into factors in society and the home environment which play a crucial role in the identity crisis and eventual radicalisation of South Asian Muslims in the UK, shedding more light on root causes that need to be examined in more depth.
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