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Pakistan, often making misinformed claims” due to their lack of

knowledge of the areas (216). In the early 2000s, as one of the very

few “Pakistanis whom journalists knew and could ring,” Shamsie “at

least [knew] a little more, and [was] very interested in politics,” so

“[n]ow and then, they asked me to write something” (216). Since then,

Shamsie has been writing comment articles for a number of

newspapers and magazines, including the


, and has joined

international institutions such as the Index on Censorship, English

PEN, Free Word, and Liberty. In particular, endeavoring to fend off the

dangers posed by misinformed claims about Muslims, Shamsie agreed

to write on “Islam and Offence” for Seagull Books.


Offence: The

Muslim Case

is the result published in 2009.



promotes a global understanding of Islam by fleshing out

how Muslims in Pakistan could be offended. It in a way reveals that

“[c]osmopolitanism should not be confused with the negation of

national identity

and vice versa,” as Victor Roudometof argues in

distinguishing cosmopolitanism from transnationalism (2005: 122).


privileges the nation state as a unit of analysis because, as

Shamsie explains, “[w]hen I look at events in Pakistan, the context of

national government and politics helps me understand what’s going on

far more than I understand anything that’s happening in Palestine,

Chechnya, or elsewhere in the so-called Muslim world” (2011: 217).

Therefore, she confines herself to Pakistan “as a case study,” but her

analysis is highly critical of “the interplay of national politics and

religious ideology” that gives rise to the ascendancy of the “hardliners”

in Pakistan (2009b: 13). Shamsie attributes some people’s biased


In addition to Shamsie’s book,

the “Offence” series also includes Brian Klug’s

Offence: The Jewish Case

, Irena Maryniak’s

Offence: The Christian Case

, Salil


Offence: The Hindu Case

, Casper Melville’s

Taking Offence

, and Martin


Giving Offence



Offence: The Muslim Case

is also part of the “Manifestos for the Twenty-First

Century” series, which, according to Padraig Reidy, is a series of “books that

evolved out of a close collaboration between Seagull Books and

Index on


, a home and a voice for freedom of expression since it was founded in

1972” (2007).