A Good Muslim is the fourth chapter from my graphic novel, Mongrel.
In the first chapter, the readers are introduced to the protagonist, Shona on her wedding day. We immediately sense that things are not as they should be. She cannot ignore the anger and disproval looming over her. Her mother, Amma, declared that she would never forgive her and forbade her father, Abba, from being present.
In chapter two, we leave the tense scene, and are taken through snap shots of Shona's memories in Bangladesh. The narrative is communicated through a poem followed by illustrations reiterating those poignant memories.
We are then introduced to Shona's childhood home in England, focusing on the strong presence of Islam and Bengali culture within the home.
The fourth chapter is presented above.
In chapter five, we arrive in the present at an urban scene, which contrasts greatly to the previous atmosphere. The illustrations are censored: a character has been visibly erased from the illustration because Shona is not ready to reveal who it is. Shona talks to the reader about the beliefs from her childhood that are still very present to her. She focuses on the eternal fire, it posses her subconscious. At the end of this chapter, David, Shona's future husband is introduced to the readers.
Shona tells the story of her parents engagement; an arranged marriage in Bangladesh. Followed by her mother's immigration to England and the difficulties she faced with leaving her homeland behind. Shona then tells the story of her own engagement, which bears no similarities to her parents.
We return to Shona's childhood home. Shona explains Amma's plans for her children's future. There is a family day out and this is a rare occasion within this household because of Abba being overworked. This is a joyful scene showing that they are just like every other family in the suburban town. When Shona returns to prayer lessons and boasts about her family's day out, she is careful not to let it slip that Amma participates in archery.
At Shona's graduation we see the effect of keeping such a huge secret is having on her. She explains the difficulties she had as a teenager in her family home and how things changed when she moved to university. She was under such strict control, which eventually caused her to erupt.
In chapter nine, we learn about her brothers disownment. His secret relationship with a non-Muslim girl was exposed, which lead to his dismissal from the family. Shona tells her parents about her engagement.
In chapter 10, tension between Shona and her mother is ignored. Rather than discussing this Shona talks about her mothers struggle to integrate and the racism she faced.
The silence is broken and a meeting is arranged. Shona's devotion to her family and faith is questioned. No one can come to an agreement so the meeting ends on a bad note.
Shona introduces her cousin Ruhi to the story. Ruhi is a traditional girl who has never left Bangladesh. Shona compares their lives. Shona refuses to tell Ruhi what is happening but Ruhi claims to have discovered Shona's secret from a ritual to tell fortunes.
There is a family tragedy. For the first time since her brothers disownment, the whole family is united. However, when the shock disappears the anger resurfaces.
We return to the start of the story and Shona walks down the isle.