Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film
FRAUKE MATTHES - ‘Authentic’ Muslim Voices? Feridun Zaimoğlu’s Schwarze Jungfrauen 199
FRAUKE MATTHES ‘Authentic’ Muslim Voices? Feridun Zaimoğlu’s Schwarze Jungfrauen Feridun Zaimoğlu has been one of the most successful German-language writ- ers of the last decade. With the publication of his Kanak Sprak: 24 Mißtöne vom Rande der Gesellschaft and Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft in the mid-1990s he gained the reputation of a radical, though not particularly prolific writer.1 Recently, however, Zaimoğlu’s writing has taken a different turn which has secured him overwhelming success: his novels Leyla and Liebesbrand have marked his ‘arrival’ in the literary mainstream.2 Part of his development into a commercially more successful writer derives from his interest in religion, Islam in particular, which was only subtly notice- able in most of his previous work and which is now prominent.3 This may have two reasons: first, the Islamic fundamentalist suicide attacks on Western cities and institutions on 11 September 2001 (‘9/11’) and 7 July 2005 (‘7/7’) and the Madrid train bombings on 11 March 2004 have compelled Muslim minorities in North America and Europe to reflect on their religion in a more defensive way than ever before. Muslims have become Muslims under the Western gaze.4 Their stigmatisation as ‘Muslim’, that is, as an unknown 1 Feridun Zaimoğlu, Kanak Sprak: 24 Mißtöne vom Rande der Gesellschaft (Hamburg: Rotbuch, 1995); Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft (Hamburg: Rotbuch, 1998). 2 Feridun Zaimoğlu, Leyla (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2006); Liebesbrand (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2008). 3 An apparent exception would...
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