My Son the Fanatic Questions and Answers
by Hanif Kureishi

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Why has Ali decided to become a practicing Muslim?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are a number of reasons. Ali himself says that his decision to become a devout Muslim came about simply through living in England. By this, he probably means that he's become increasingly dissatisfied with life in a modern, materialistic society. He feels spiritually empty in such an environment, and Islamic fundamentalism offers him what he sees as a much richer inner life than the one that he currently leads. He also takes offense at what he sees as the anti-Muslim foreign policy conducted by Britain and other Western countries.

The suddenness with which Ali turns his back on Western ways indicates that perhaps this wasn't the product of long, serious reflection. There's something impulsive about the way he suddenly breaks things off with his English girlfriend and throws out all his old toys, video games, and computer disks. Something seems to have snapped inside him. Religious epiphanies of the kind experienced by Ali are often quite sudden, so there's nothing too surprising about his behavior in this regard. But it does make us suspect that there's more to Ali's motivations than just a general sense of disillusionment with his Western surroundings.

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