Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Just Another Jihadi Jane"

Just Another Jihadi Jane is the Indian writer Tabish Khair’s sixth novel, just published in USA, where it has been nominated for the $50,000 Kirkus Prize.

Khair applied the Page 69 Test to the new novel and reported the following:
Just Another Jihadi Jane is the story of two British Muslim girls of South Asian origin who, soon after finishing high school, run away to join the so-called jihad in Syria/Iraq. Page 69 of the US edition of this novel presents a crucial turning-point. The two girls, Jamilla and Ameena, have moved into the same flat, after finishing high school. The beautiful Jamilla, brought up in hijab by a religious and resentful father (recently dead), has sometime back converted the feisty Ameena to her narrow brand of Islamic fundamentalism. A new convert, and with her own demons to escape, Ameena has entered the online world of Islamism with great enthusiasm. This online world enables both the girls to escape from their immediate disappointments and imagine a far-away place of Islamic perfection. (They will be disabused of it, but that is yet to come.)

On page 69, Jamilla returns to the flat to be given news of Islamist advances by Ameena, who is online with Hejjiye, an older Arab woman, who, it turns out, is a recruiter for Daesh (ISIS or the Islamic State). Along with the news, Hejjiye has posted a photo of the baby born to one of her co-wives. Ameena also informs Jamilla that she might marry a ‘jihadi,’ Hassan, she has met online.

This is the first time the notion of running away to Syria is clearly aired. Soon, it will happen – and the rest of the novel is about the bitter fruits that this act will bear for the girls and for others.
Visit Tabish Khair's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Thing about Thugs.

My Book, The Movie: The Thing About Thugs.

Writers Read: Tabish Khair.

My Book, The Movie: Just Another Jihadi Jane.

--Marshal Zeringue