In recent years, countless politicians and commentators have been addressing the Quran in an attempt to understand the rise of Muslim extremist ideology. They have missed the point: the most significant factor in this phenomenon is to be found within the particular circumstances of individual nation-states. Islam as a static global and temporal entity is a myth. The reality reflects a wide variety of experience founded on the co-mingling of religion, cultural and national and international politics. It is inside this individual complexity that battle-lines have been drawn and the fight waged within Islam itself, often largely unremarked upon by the world outside. Through a consideration of the case of Pakistan, this volume seeks to place the recent surge in extremist Islam within the framework of the nation-state, and to sharpen those dangerously blurred distinctions between the Merely Offended and the Violently Offended in the course of examining the causes of offence.
Kamila Shamsie is the author of four novels, including Kartography and Broken Verses. She writes for the Guardian, Index on Censorship, Prospect and the New Statesman (UK), Newsline and DAWN (Pakistan) and the Daily Star (Bangladesh). She grew up in Karachi, and now lives in London.