Offence: The Muslim Case

Kamila Shamsie

Manifestos for the 21st Century


4.25 x 7 inches, 90 pp. January 2009

ISBN : 9781906497033

Rs  395.00 (HB)
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Danish cartoons, Satanic Verses, teddy bears named Muhammad, children’s stories with pigs, women in skimpy skirts, bars and night-clubs . . . Is there nothing that will escape Muslim censure? Images of the offended Muslim rampaging across TV screens in violent protest have, in turn, incited shock, outrage and incomprehension in the guilty party. Offence, it seems, is inevitable when Muslims encounter the West.


Islam is invoked over a range of offences, most of them entirely without reference to the West: it can be cricket songs, female heads of state or boys playing football. And every sect within Islam finds reason to be offended by every other. But if offence and Islam is primarily an intra-Muslim affair and only secondarily concerned with the non-Muslim world, how best to understand it? Nowhere better, says Kamila Shamsie, than in her own country Pakistan. There we can follow the rise of extremism, the gathering ascendance of the Islamist leaders and their violently offended followers, and the repercussions of this at home and in the world at large. 

Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Pakistan. She is the author of In the City by the Sea (1998), Kartography (2002) (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize), Salt and Saffron (2002) and Broken Verses (2005). In 1999 she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature and in 2004 the Patras Bokhari Award—both from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Shamsie lives in London and Karachi.


Culture Studies
Manifestos of the 21st Century
Offence Series