The public sphere of the Manchester Muslim diaspora is a place of intense local micro-politics of honour and shame, debated in the globalized language of world affairs, and dramatically enacted through public performance. In this new book Pnina Werbner reveals a multi-centred world among Manchester Pakistanis, a locally created diasporic public space which appropriates and combines travelling ideas and images from a variety of sources into meaningful moral allegories. British South Asian Muslims became visible in the protets mobilized against "The Satanic Verses", during which Pakistani immigrants abandoned the role of a silent, well-behaved minority in the public defence of their religious imagination and group honour. In opening up a new realm of activist citizenship politics, the Rushdie affair also provided the opportunity for the Pakistani diaspora to liberate themselves from the intimidation of their own religious extremists. There has since been an efflorescence of cultural and religious societies, festivals and public celebrations of fun and consumption, often with women taking more visible and vocal roles and challenging the hegemony of male elders.
Along with a revived loyalty to the Islamic community and its global outposts there is a new struggle for local British citizenship rights, emphasizing multi-culturalism and the recognition and respect of difference.