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 many see it as a hate crime. Among them is Kashif Siddiqui, the son of Pakistani immigrants. Kashif joins a group of volunteers at an Islamic Cultural Centre on a security watch during the festive Eid night, a potential target of another attack. When an attack materializes, Eid night becomes a test of friendship, family, and faith for the community; it also ends in near-tragedy and a declaration of love and reconciliation.
Praise for Isolated Incident
Isolated Incident is an absorbing tale that probes deeply into the links between migration and indigeneity, on the one hand, and misogyny and Islamophobia, on the other. This is just as much a story of place, land, and river as it is a story of love, violence, and belonging in the Americas. Faced with hate crimes, Mariam Pirbhai’s characters struggle, question, and find peace in ways that will stay with readers long after turning the last page. We all need to read this outstanding novel with so much to teach about how to endure.
Dr. Shazia Rahman, author of
Place and Postcolonial Ecofeminism: Pakistani Women’s Literary and Cinematic Fictions
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, Mariam 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, author of
What Storm, What Thunder
Mariam Pirbhai’s debut novel, Isolated Incident, is a thoughtful and intelligent examination of faith and intolerance centred around a vicious attack on a Toronto mosque. Through the perspectives of a rich cast of characters who are forced to navigate a landscape riddled with more and more hate crimes against Canadian Muslims, Pirbhai gives us a glimpse into the complex reality of a community rarely depicted in the popular media.
Tasneem Jamal, author of
Where the Air Is Sweet
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 Orientalist scripts through which Muslims are too often represented, Mariam 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, author of
Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation
Focalized through Canadian Muslim immigrants, Mariam Pirbhai’s Isolated Incident provides a nuanced perspective on anti-Muslim racism, a climate of increasing hostility and hierarchies of belonging in a multicultural land. Grappling with vulnerability, defiance, hate crimes and painful questions about Canadian and Muslim citizenship, young people are shown to powerfully enact their subject positionings in a religiously and spiritually disenchanted world. Faced with the burden of reorienting the essentialist notion of the dangerous Muslim ‘other’, Pirbhai’s novel is an awakening to a new consciousness of articulation and performance of Muslimness. A compelling read!
Dr. Aroosa Kanwal, co-editor of
The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing