Home-grown fanatics & Zadie Smith

The discovery that the London bombers were four British-born lads of Pakistani heritage, radicalized in their own North England community, made me think immediately of Zadie Smith's angry young British Bangladeshi in White Teeth. The most serious action he undertakes is joining in a mass burning of a novel that neither he nor anyone he knows has read, but that he has been told insults Islam (that other novel isn't named, but the reference is clearly to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, a wonderfully complex and comic book about cultural displacement of South Asians in Britain). Smith's treatment, like Rushdie's, is comic, but the dynamic toward terror is evident.

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