When a rock, a threatening letter and a burning Quran are thrown into a mosque on the outskirts of Toronto, religious leaders and the police shrug it off as an isolated incident. But not everyone is convinced by this tepid response, many seeing the ‘incident’ as a sign of escalating hate crimes. Among them is Kashif Siddiqui, the son of Pakistani immigrants who joins a group of volunteers at an Islamic Cultural Centre on an ill-conceived security watch during Eid night—the likely target of a bolder attack. When a chance meeting with a retired cop stokes Kashif’s ambition to join the police force, he realizes any form of vigilantism could be a strike against him. But Kashif is pulled towards helping the Muslim community at the Centre, seeing it as a refuge in difficult times. Eid night becomes a test of friendship, family and faith for the people in Kashif’s orbit. For Kashif, it may mean the difference between life and death.

Advance Praise for Isolated Incident

In Isolated Incident, Mariam Pirbhai gives voice to a Canada confronted by an Islamophobia that has become as entrenched as its multiculturality. Centered on the lives and loves of South Asian, Arab- and Muslim-Canadians, brought to lively and sometimes humorous relief through sensory details of past origins, shared familial meals, university exchanges and cultural centers, eponymous to Canadian life, Pirbhai reveals the complex negotiations her characters undertake as they collide with a landscape that has continued to define itself as a Franco-British settler-colony. Isolated Incident will make all readers rethink what it means to be Canadian today and what it might mean tomorrow were we to awaken to the realities lived by the marginalized within Canadian borders. A must-read, urgent and topical.”

Myriam J. A. Chancy, HBA Chair in the Humanities, Scripps College, and author of What Storm, What Thunder 

Isolated Incident is a poignant and moving tale of how Islamophobia has impacted Muslim communities. Pirbhai weaves together a fascinating story that holds up a mirror to the consequences of anti-Muslim racism. Believable and relatable characters offer a window into the fraught experiences that the post 9/11 era ushered in for Canadian Muslims facing hate crimes, surveillance, state sanctioned racism and stereotypes of religious degeneracy. Subverting the cliched stock characters and Orientalist scripts through which Muslims are too often represented, Pirbhai masterfully crafts authentic, real-life narratives of Canadian Muslims trying to negotiate belonging in a land that has become increasingly hostile to their faith and identity.  A compelling story at a time where Islamophobia has reached deadly proportions in Canada and around the globe.

Dr. Jasmine Zine, professor of Sociology and author of Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation

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