In “My life as a Muslim in a West’s Grey Zone”, Laila Lalami discusses the treatment of Muslims not involved in terrorist organizations in the West. She explains that Muslims who do not support the actions of ISIS are referred to as a grey zone. However, the attitude towards this grey area in American society is ambiguous and falls under the influence of the association series with terrorism. Lalami’s first argument is that American society overlooks Muslims who are in a grey area. It only hears news about Muslim terrorists, but not about writers or scientists. Lalami (2015) writes, “Most of the time, gray lives go unnoticed in America” (3).
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The second argument is that a group of Muslims who do not support terrorism, particularly the actions of ISIS, are being radicalized. The author quotes an American government spokesman as saying: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” (Lalami, 2015). At the same time, Muslims in the grey zone are constantly under suspicion, even though most of them express a clear negative stance on terrorism. There has even been a proposal to ban Muslim refugees from Syria from entering the US. At the same time, Muslims suffer from attacks by terrorist groups on an equal footing with the rest of the people. The main message of the text is that Muslims are just as affected by terrorism as Christians. However, they also suffer from prejudice and increased demands from society, making them even more fearful.
Regarding rhetorical strategies, the text begins with a story from the author’s life, which refers the reader to the further topic of the narrative. Since the text discusses a socially significant phenomenon – society’s attitude towards the Muslims of the gray zone – this technique helps the reader feel this phenomenon and show empathy. The main statement of the text is the stigmatization of the gray zone Muslims by the American society, confirmed by quotes from the American government, as well as a life story. Telling how Lalami’s daughter wants to become president but will not realize her dream because of the stigmatization of Muslims, she shows how strong the stigmatic perceptions in society are.
The rest of the text’s arguments are well structured and do not interrupt the narrative. From the life story about the book’s presentation, Lalami goes to the facts and news reports about terrorists, supporting this with a story about her own sister, who survived a terrorist attack. This technique helps keep the viewer’s attention that terrible events regarding Muslims are happening here and now and affect individual human lives. The very tone of the narration is well balanced – the stories of real people give it vitality, and the formalities are particular facts from the news and the political agenda. The main point of the text is to make it clear to readers that the Muslims, in the absolute majority, are ordinary people with their ambitions and fears, who also suffer from terrorism and stigmatization.
Lalami, L. (2015). My life as a Muslim in the West’s gray zone. The New York Times. Web.