About the author
Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer, academic, anti-racism and Palestine advocate, former lawyer and the multi-award-winning author of 13 books published in over 20 countries. She is the series editor of the forthcoming new children’s book series Our Stories. Her first picture story book, 11 Words for Love, illustrated by Maxine Beneba Clarke, is due for release in 2022. Randa is also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University where she researches Islamophobia, race, social justice movements and youth identities. Randa lives in Sydney with her husband and four children.
About the book
We now have a generation – Muslim and non-Muslim – who has grown up only knowing a world at war on terror, and who has been socialised in a climate of widespread Islamophobia, surveillance and suspicion.
In Coming of Age in the War on Terror, award-winning writer Randa Abdel-Fattah interrogates the impact of all this on young people’s political consciousness and their trust towards adults and the societies they live in. Drawing on local interviews but global in scope, this book is the first to examine the lives of a generation for whom the rise of the far-right and the growing polarisation of politics seem normal. It’s about time we hear what they have to say.
Randa Abdel-Fattah was inspired to write this book after a young Muslim boy told her that school was no longer “the one place he felt safe.” In this searing analysis of state incompetence and abuse, she weaves academic ideas with the real-life experiences of children of the 9-11 generation, both Muslim and other. Now approaching adulthood, the young Muslims she speaks with are mostly interested in Netflix and passing their exams, but they also know they are the imagined ‘bogeymen’ by governments and Islamaphobes all over Australia.
In a radical departure from the norm which systematically silences such students, Abdel-Fatteh has chosen to interview, and take seriously, teenagers from a range of class, religious, ethnic, and school backgrounds. The portrait which emerges from her study is one of manufactured fear, staggering ignorance on the part of some schools and governments, and a generation of young Muslim Australians who’ve grown up understanding that their ‘belonging’ here is always provisional. Coming of Age in the War on Terror is urgent and compelling storytelling.
“Excoriating the hypocrisy of neoliberal social interventionist policies, Abdel-Fattah has given us a rich and important work, as moving in its sincerity as it is unprecedented in its scope.” – Daniel Nour, Books + Publishing
“The war on terror shapes the cultural narratives that we buy into: it informs our allegiances and our enemies, our competition and our proximity, our pasts and our futures.” – Munira Tabassum Ahmed, Meanjin
“Abdel-Fattah, an Arab-Australian Muslim activist, revels in the words of students who attempt to speak truth to power while also displaying great empathy toward youth who are struggling to come to grips with the implications of their identity.” – Ender Başkan, Readings online
Listen to Randa Abdel-Fattah discuss Coming of Age in the War on Terror on ABC RN’s Breakfast with Fran Kelly
Read ‘I’m not afraid of terrorism. I’m afraid of being accused of being a terrorist: growing up Muslim after 9/11’ by Randa Abdel-Fattah via The Conversation
Watch Randa Abdel-Fattah on ABC TV’s The Drum