About the author

Randa Abdel-Fattah

About the book

Judges' report

Randa Abdel-Fattah was inspired to write this book after a young Muslim boy told her that school was no longer “the one place he felt safe.” In this searing analysis of state incompetence and abuse, she weaves academic ideas with the real-life experiences of children of the 9-11 generation, both Muslim and other. Now approaching adulthood, the young Muslims she speaks with are mostly interested in Netflix and passing their exams, but they also know they are the imagined ‘bogeymen’ by governments and Islamaphobes all over Australia.

In a radical departure from the norm which systematically silences such students, Abdel-Fatteh has chosen to interview, and take seriously, teenagers from a range of class, religious, ethnic, and school backgrounds. The portrait which emerges from her study is one of manufactured fear, staggering ignorance on the part of some schools and governments, and a generation of young Muslim Australians who’ve grown up understanding that their ‘belonging’ here is always provisional. Coming of Age in the War on Terror is urgent and compelling storytelling.

Further reading


“Excoriating the hypocrisy of neoliberal social interventionist policies, Abdel-Fattah has given us a rich and important work, as moving in its sincerity as it is unprecedented in its scope.” – Daniel Nour, Books + Publishing

“The war on terror shapes the cultural narratives that we buy into: it informs our allegiances and our enemies, our competition and our proximity, our pasts and our futures.” – Munira Tabassum Ahmed, Meanjin

“Abdel-Fattah, an Arab-Australian Muslim activist, revels in the words of students who attempt to speak truth to power while also displaying great empathy toward youth who are struggling to come to grips with the implications of their identity.” – Ender Başkan, Readings online


Listen to Randa Abdel-Fattah discuss Coming of Age in the War on Terror on ABC RN’s Breakfast with Fran Kelly

Read ‘I’m not afraid of terrorism. I’m afraid of being accused of being a terrorist: growing up Muslim after 9/11’ by Randa Abdel-Fattah via The Conversation

Watch Randa Abdel-Fattah on ABC TV’s The Drum

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