Mohsin Hamid on Mumbai and the media


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It has been widely reported in the foreign media that the gunmen in the current attacks in Mumbai are specifically targeting Westerners and Jews. Does this point to a higher likelihood that Muslims are behind it? 

Well they’re not Muslims … they just call themselves that. But it’s preposterous to focus on this.

Who is losing their lives? Over 100 brown people have been killed – Hindus, Muslims and Christians indiscriminately– but the media focuses on the white faces being killed. 

The vast majority are Indians, police, soldiers and so on. Clearly they want to attack foreigners they but have no problem with attacking locals too … this has been overlooked.

Mohsin Hamid interviewed by Al Jazeera. Last year he spoke at Vassar and talked to an English class before his lecture. I remembering asking him something related to the following quote, from an interview about The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

FP: What does your novel say about how the United States deals with Muslim immigrants and expatriates?

MH: It’s very complicated. Changez is not particularly discriminated against. Working in New York, he prospers. Yet inside him is this latent identity, a sense of pride in somebody else’s narrative. And that’s something that Americans often forget: These other narratives of people who are much less successful—on the metrics we can measure—are still equally proud.

Inside the United States, there is a disproportionate fear of Muslims and of terrorism generally. Three thousand Americans died on 9/11, another 3,000 or so have died in Iraq, and over 42,000 Americans are killed in automobile accidents every year. Yet when we see a Muslim, we feel fear. When we see an automobile, we don’t feel that fear. It’s this exaggerated fear that results in the sorts of behaviors toward the Muslim world that I think are the problem.

Interview here.

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