Review: How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position by Tabish Khair


How-to-Fight-Islamist-TerrorFighting Islamist terror is not the book’s focus and, although both main characters have lively libidos, sex is not a particular concern either. In a Danish setting that seems to reflect Khair’s own role as a lecturer at Aarhus University, friends from the Indian subcontinent, one Indian, one Pakistani, move into the flat of an older Muslim, Karim.

In contrast to the two young men, Karim is devout and, it seems, narrow-minded, the very definition of a bigot. This is a story of multicultural Denmark, of liberal sensibilities rubbing up against fundamentalism, of brilliant post-colonial minds trying to shine in the cool, grey light of Scandinavia. There’s an echo of The Great Gatsby in the first-person narrative through which one of the young men, never named, admires, scrutinises and ultimately weighs up his congenial and fascinating friend Ravi. Quirkily humorous, this novel challenges assumptions about Muslims.

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