Please help me with the interpretation of the following quote from Mohsin Hamid's novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist: “And fundamentalism. You guys have got some serious problems with fundamentalism" (55).
The above-stated quote comes from Erica's father when Changez meets them for dinner one evening. When referring to the word "fundamentalism," it is in regards to a strict way in which a group of people uphold the beliefs, rules, or commandments of their religion of choice. Usually, a fundamentalist sect of a religion is radically living the religion's beliefs out of strict and literal readings of their scripture. Here, the father is stereotyping all Pakistanis by grouping them all into one fanatical group, which isn't appreciated by Changez. When the phrase, "serious problems" unsympathetically rolls off the American's tongue, it shows disrespect for Pakistanis and the Muslim culture and ideals. In the following paragraph, Changez mentions that Erica's father seemed as informed on the subject as one who often reads headlines, but doesn't know the details. Changez is offended more at the tone, or "American undercurrent of condescension" rather than what was said specifically.