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Engaging Politically from the Margin 271

“unified by faith and transcending national state boundaries” (Sayyid,

2000: 36). In


, Shamsie examines the dialogical relationship

between these different local fields and their dialectical relationships

with the cosmopolitan. Her aim is to acknowledge the nuances of

Muslims and to promote civil liberties and the right to freedom of

expression against the growing global “culture of complaint and

oversensitivity” (Rajagopalan, 2009). First and foremost,



that Pakistan and Islam are interrelated fields that shape Muslims’

social life and identities, but they are not equivalent. As quoted earlier,

when Shamsie claims that she understands more about Pakistan than

other places in the so-called Muslim world, she articulates not only her

attachment to Pakistan but also the diversity of Muslims living in

different nations and areas. The task of cosmopolitanism that Shamsie

contemplates in


is the “debate and conversation across

nations” (Appiah, 2005: 246) and other local areas in the world, which,

in the post-9/11 era, has been arbitrarily divided into Muslim and

non-Muslim. Examining the local situation in Pakistan,


aims at

dispelling the notion of the “Offended Muslim,” now almost

universally regarded as “an anti-Western construct” (Shamsie, 2009b:

3). It points out that the combination of Islam with violence is

“primarily an intra-Muslim affair and only secondarily concerned with

the non-Muslim world” (3), for, even without reference to the West or

Christianity, Muslims living in one nation could be offended for

various reasons. As important as the idea of Muslim diversity within

and across national borders in forming part of Shamsie’s

cosmopolitanism and complicating the unified notion of



the extra-textual ties that


forges with other books in the

“Offence” series, each of which is “a long-form essay discussing

offence from the perspective of the offender, the ‘victim,’ and the

religious context of Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians”

(Rajagopalan, 2009). In a nutshell, although


is partially rooted

in the Muslim case in Pakistan, it fundamentally concerns politics and

civil liberties across nations and religions in the post-9/11 era.

Published in the same year as




Burnt Shadows