Muslims, as members of minority communities in the West, grow up against a back-ground of everyday islamophobia. I suggest that the Muslim self internalized in such a setting is denigrated (Fanon 1952), a problem usually grappled with during adolescence when identity formation is the key developmental task. This typically involves the adolescent taking on po-larized positions and embracing extreme causes. Following the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks islam-ophobia intensiﬁed, which can be understood, at the psychological level, as an internal racist defence against overwhelming anxiety. Within that defensive organization, which I describe, fundamentalism is inscribed as the problematic heart of Islam, complicating the adolescent’s attempt to come to terms with the inner legacy of everyday islamophobia. I explore these themes through a case study of a young man who travelled to Afghanistan in the 1990s, and by brief reference to Ed Husain’s The Islamist and Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Keywords: Fundamentalism, islamophobia, adolescence, identity, internal racism.