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Saima Saeed

By Azad Essa
HarperCollins Publishers, India, 2012, pp. 243, Rs.299.00


The Moslems are Coming: Encounters with a Desktop Terrorist published by Harper Collins India in 2012 is a revised and updated adaptation of Azad Essa’s first book—Zuma’s Bastard published two years ago in 2010. The genesis of much of this book can be traced to the globally renowned blog ‘Accidental Academic’ on its Thought Leader platform which is South Africa’s leading blogging space. The Moslems are Coming is an interesting collection of writings from this blog in addition to journalistic pieces from Essa’s assignments at Al Jazeera, his experiences during his multinational MA programme that required him to spend time studying in India, Germany and South Africa. The work literally stomps the globe as does the author commenting on every place and people that came his way. Azad Essa belongs to that rare breed of journalists who not only have the uncanny ability to question repressive sociopolitical regimes but inspire thousands of others to do so. This kind of writing that seeks to rattle every power structure that be, sets to expose western hegemony, racism and unexplained Islamophobia. It provides more than a peek into the brave new world of bloggers whose strength comes from their sense of unabashed freedom to speak the truth, to make the world face up to the truth and to ask some hard hitting questions. It is this honesty and insistence on being scathingly upfront that makes this book archetypal of the blogosphere and the digital media which can neither be gagged nor contained easily while offering dynamic arenas for dialogue on everything from race and religion to class, caste, power and politics. Among other things, Essa critiques what has come to be known as ‘Islamophobia’, addressing both the mundane and the everyday discriminations that Muslims (rather ‘Moslems’ with a roll of the tongue, European style) across the world have to undergo. This is powerfully narrated in an episode of racial profiling at the Dubai International airport where a young Muslim boy (a Pakistani) of no more than eighteen years, along with his mother and younger brother has to undergo a massive questioning session at the final step of the boarding pass process although his luggage is already checked in. An airline employee not even an immigrant officer hurls a barrage of such reprehensible questions (including why he wants to go to Frankfurt to meet his father after nine years and just ...

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