The muslim "who has faith" in Leila Aboulela's novels Minaret (2005) and Lyrics Alley (2009)
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This essay analyses Leila Aboulela's narrative techniques when depicting a Muslim “who has faith” in her two most recent novels. In Minaret she presents religion as a source of strength for her female narrator-protagonist but also suggests that Muslim women of faith should adopt a quietist retreat from public life in order to nourish their spiritual life. In Lyrics Alley, by contrast, the male Muslim “who has faith” represents superiority in spirituality and intellectual accomplishment as well as knowledge of the orthodox form of Islam. While Aboulela may be reacting to the kind of journalism in the British media that portrays distorted facts about Muslims and links Islam with violence, the form of her religion that she advocates is not modulated by her life in Britain. She misunderstands British culture and does not present understanding of the long-standing forces behind the recent eruptions in Arab states, in which women have figured.