‘Are we on the same wavelength?’
Interstitial queerness and the Ismaili diaspora in Ian Iqbal Rashid’s poetry and films
in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
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This chapter examines the poetry and film of Canadian Ismaili Ian Iqbal Rashid. It argues that Rashid’s debut feature film, Touch of Pink (2004), queers the heteronormative genre of the Hollywood romantic comedy while focusing on an underrepresented community, namely the East African Ismaili diaspora in Canada and Britain. The chapter suggests Rashid’s characters are placed at the interstices between Ismaili traditionalism, colonial and postcolonial modernity, and diasporic postmodernity. It begins with an analysis of Stag (2002), a short film resonating with Rashid’s poetry, and its critique of the lingering legacies of colonialism in postcolonial Britain. It also analyses Rashid’s first short film, Surviving Sabu (1997), arguing that it rehearses a building of bridges between two generations of diasporic Muslims. Lastly, it undertakes a reading of Touch of Pink suggesting that it constructs migrant Muslim women as less imperviously traditional than Muslims brought up in the West would want us to believe. It is argues that Alim, the film’s protagonist, needs to outgrow the constraining colonial legacies of Western film, while his white British boyfriend Giles is required to become attuned to the cultural distinctiveness of Alim’s experience as a member of an ethno-religious minority.


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