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Lone Star MuslimsTransnational Lives and the South Asian Experience in Texas$
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Ahmed Afzal

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479855346

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479855346.001.0001

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The Pakistan Independence Day Festival

The Pakistan Independence Day Festival

The Making of a “Houston Tradition”

(p.152) 5 The Pakistan Independence Day Festival
Lone Star Muslims

Ahmed Afzal

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the Pakistan Independence Day Festival. The complexities in negotiations of transnationality that are centered on the intersection of transnational Islam, South Asian cultural histories and diasporic nationhood, and racialized subjectification in the United States, also find expression in Pakistani American festive celebrations, notably the Pakistan Independence Day Festival in Houston. The Festival contradicts the presumed secularity of ethnic festive cultures in the United States and provides an important case study for documenting the embeddedness of Islam in Pakistani diasporic festive cultural celebrations. Indeed, the centrality of Islam in performances of long-distance nationalism and diasporic nationhood position the Festival as a transnational Muslim celebration. At the same time, the post-9/11 framing of the Festival as a “Houston tradition” by the Festival organizers recasts it as a practice of cultural citizenship that is central in mediating the experience of surveillance of and racism toward Muslim communities.

Keywords:   Pakistan Independence Day Festival, transnational Islam, long-distance nationalism, diasporic nationhood, cultural citizenship, Muslim communities

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