Amplifications of Religious Fundamentalism in Fiction: Al-Saqqaf’s Qissat Irhabi vs Updike’s Terrorist

Middle East Studies Online Journal- ISSN 2109-9618- Issue n°6. Volume 3 ( Summer 2011)

Etudes  du Moyen-Orient. N°6. Volume 3. ( Eté 2011)

.2011دراسات الشرق الأوسط، مجلة فكرية محكمة. العدد السادس . المجلد الثالث صيف


Riyad Manqoush


Dr. Noraini Md. Yusof


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruzy Suliza Hashim


School of Language Studies and Linguistics

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

National University of Malaysia

Selangor, Malaysia.

Abstract: This paper is intended to examine the amplifications of the Jewish fundamentalism in Arabic fiction, mainly in Hussein al-Saqqaf’s Qissat Irhabi (2007), and also Islamic fundamentalism in American fiction, particularly in John Updike’s Terrorist (2006). The comparison is supposed to shed light on the Judeophobic traits that prevail in the Arab culture and conversely Islamophobia that dominates America. The methodology of the analysis is an appropriation of the comparative paradigm which is framed according to our discussion of the French school and Marxist approach of comparative literature. The parameter of the comparison is Gerard Genette and Allen’s concept of amplification that refers to the process in which a text focuses on certain elements of another text to expand, detail and highlight them. Appropriating this notion, we argue that the two novels amplify the issue of religious fundamentalism in their contexts. Our analysis concludes that al-Saqqaf disseminates Judeophobic traits and Updike displays Islamophobic mannerism. For instance, the former concentrates on the extremist rabbis and the Sicarii to highlight the Jewish fundamentalism and the terrorist acts that are carried out under the banner of Judaism. Conversely, Updike stresses on the character of the fanatic imam and his student to overstate Islamic fundamentalism which, as he claims, prompts young Muslims towards terrorism. Hence, the two authors shed light on two different versions of religious fundamentalism in their respective novel to assert certain ideas which mostly coincide with the cultural and ideological background of each of them.

Keywords: religious fundamentalism, terrorism, comparative literature, American fiction, Arab fiction…


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Amplifications of Religious Fundamentalism in Fiction


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