Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

by

Alana Valentine

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The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Symbol Analysis

The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Symbol Icon

Throughout the play, the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City—and the aftermath of these events—symbolize people’s tendency to form unfounded prejudices in the wake of tragic events. More specifically, the play looks at how non-Muslim and Western cultures vilified Islam as a whole, simply because the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were affiliated with the religion.

Immediately after the attack, Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah bemoan the fact that newscasters talking about the events make an implicit connection between extremist violence and the entire Islamic faith, such that ordinary Muslims end up having to answer for the heinous actions of a small violent minority. As Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah discuss Shafana’s decision to wear a hijab, they frequently reference the Islamophobic attitudes that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11, mentioning the attacks as a representation of just how ignorant many people are when it comes to their ideas about the Islamic faith. In turn, the attacks themselves come to symbolize how dangerous it can be for Muslims to simply go about their everyday lives in societies that discriminate against them.

The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Quotes in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

The Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah quotes below all refer to the symbol of The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
).
Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah Quotes

SHAFANA: Mum said that she had been contemplating on it for the past five years but had never taken the step to do it. Dad asked me if I was sure of what I was doing. Had I thought about all the consequences, all the things that are going on around the world, all the employment considerations.

SARRINAH: But if you really feel it in your heart these are not reasons not to do it.

SHAFANA: That’s right.

SARRINAH: And is that how you feel?

SHAFANA: I want to make real the change that has happened to me, that God really is there and I believe that.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Related Symbols: The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAFANA: But I do not believe it is a holy war.

SARRINAH: Don’t get into that.

SHAFANA: But I don’t. This killing people, this one human being doing such things to another.

SARRINAH: Be careful.

SHAFANA: This is not Islam.

SARRINAH: Don’t open it up.

[…]

SHAFANA: But I read it myself. Specific verses of mercies, insight, compassion, kindness.

SARRINAH: But that is not what your assignment is asking of you. It is asking you to analyse the crisis, analyse the discourse around it, compare and contrast various points of view, summarise, and provide a lucid overview.

Related Characters: Shafana (speaker), Aunt Sarrinah (speaker)
Related Symbols: The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
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The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Symbol Timeline in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah

The timeline below shows where the symbol The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks appears in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
...Sarrinah knows, Shafana has been revisiting her relationship with Islam recently. Ever since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, she has been more closely investigating the Islamic... (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
The conversation shifts to the events of September 11th, 2001. Shafana says that, although the attack on the World Trade Center profoundly altered the world, she doesn’t believe that such violent... (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...house. They’re both flustered and talk about what they’ve heard on the news about the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Listening to the news is unnerving,... (full context)
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
...overreacting and that she won’t actually experience much discrimination in the wake of the terrorist attacks. But Sarrinah disagrees, insisting that everything is different now. (full context)