Why have debates around the Muslim hijab become increasingly acrimonious? Islamophobia has led to the rise of far-right groups, with calls in Europe and the US for banning headscarves and minarets on mosques. In India, sectarian violence continues unabated since 1947, with hate speech becoming progressively overt. The first half of this paper examines why the Muslim hijab has become the lone metaphor for debates about identity formation, to the exclusion of veiling prevalent in other religious and cultural contexts. How would Muslim migrant writers find these debates helpful for their situation in their countries, whether original or adoptive? How can marginalized writers resist discrimination and exclusion from mainstream life? The second half of this paper focuses on the belief in the transformative power of Sufism that the Turkish-German writer Zafer Şenocak shares with the mystics Yunus Emre and Jalaluddin Rumi, and the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. For Şenocak, Sufism allows a religiosity that is not only compatible with, but also perceivable in sensuous experience. Sufism thus serves as a “third space,” a term defined by the renowned culture critic Homi Bhabha as an ambiguous, ineffable area that develops when two or more individuals/cultures interact.
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All translations from German into English are the author’s, unless otherwise indicated.
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Murti, K.P. The Hijab as a Metaphor for Otherness and the Creation of an Ineffable “Third Space”. DHARM 1, 269–285 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42240-019-00022-5
- Third space