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
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.
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.