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The Islamist by Ed Husain

The Islamist (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Ed Husain

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2561264,420 (3.62)2
Title:The Islamist
Authors:Ed Husain
Info:Penguin Global (2008), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Islamist by Ed Husain (2007)



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I read this book and followed the education of the author. How he became radicalized in England is no different than how seemingly ordinary Muslims world-wide get radicalized. It wasn't jobs; education; or poverty that did it. You will have to read the book to get some insight into how Ed Hussein became radicalized and how he unradicalized himself.

Today, in countries where people come back from radicalization, the citizens don't know whether to trust the returnees. I wonder how Mr. Hussein is doing today. ( )
  egbegb | Jun 25, 2015 |
Despite other reviews finding this book dry or difficult to follow, I found it a riveting read from start to finish. Yes you need to reread the odd phrase and definition a couple of times to understand the concepts but that would be the same for any book of this sort.

I was motivated to read this book as research for something I am writing myself but I wish I had been able to read this when I was working full time with people from diverse backgrounds including many Muslims. It gives sufficient context to understand the different strands and beliefs of Islam. Before, I had rather assumed that Islam was a single faith with all adherents believing basically the same thing but it turns out that there are a bewildering number of sects and schools of thought within Islam.

Husain’s argument is that the brand of Islam followed in many British mosques and particularly as promoted on British university campuses is of a hardline variety that often leads to extremist views. He characterises those who follow this brand as “Islamists” to distinguish them from more moderate Muslims. He also argues that Islamists are promoting a politicised version of Islam which, at least in his interpretation, is not a true reflection of the original faith. I am too new to this subject to judge the truth of his arguments but he writes very persuasively and with reference to his own experience of becoming an extreme Islamist before rejecting it in later life.

This is an impassioned plea to reject extremist views and sets some difficult challenges for proponents of free speech, of whom I include myself. My only niggling doubt about Husain is that I’d like to know how someone, who says he has come to oppose extremists of all kinds, can yet be an advisor to the Tony Blair faith foundation. Blair is, in many people’s opinion, one of the most dangerous extremists the West has ever produced. ( )
  basilisksam | Jul 30, 2014 |
on Sunday, July 27, 2008 I wrote about this book:

Finished this book yesterday.
it was definitely not an easy read, by far. Lots of Islam names and Islam groups. Wow they fight amongst themselves so much, so much rivalry. I liked the beginning, the middle I did start to get a bit bored but I did not want to give up so I tried and kept reading. Glad I did cause it teached me a lot.

How scary it is to know so many muslims are living next to us and think we are so far below them and that there are quite a lot of them who hate us even.
Even more scary is that because of our freedom we let them get sway with a lot. Look at the situation in England. I know it will be the same here.
I did underline passages, not with pen, which were remarkable or interest me. Now I want to read another book to give me even more insight. Thinking of Eurabia or While Europe slept.
Thanks for sharing. 7.5

( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
"...This book is looking at Britain in the 1990s and one boy’s experience of being drawn into a more extreme type of Islam. Husain was drawn into a group called the Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is regarded as an extremist group in many parts of the world. So it is a personal account of his life in Britain. But it is more than that because it is giving us an insight into the Muslim student movement in the 1990s. It gives a glimpse of what it was that got young boys into these types of groups.

They felt excluded from Britain; they couldn’t relate to Britain or their parents; they needed a sense of belonging, and it touches on all these issues. It is a very frank discussion of what was going on in Britain at that time. It is also really interesting because he is talking about real people and real institutions and real Muslim groups in Britain and in particular London. As a Muslim I know the places he is talking about and it is really interesting to see what he has to say.

It is a controversial book though. Particularly within Muslim quarters, not everyone received it very well. It was seen as a bit of a kiss and tell. People have questioned why he chose to write it...." (reviewed by Shazia Khan in FiveBooks).

The full interview is available here: http://fivebooks.com/interviews/shazia-khan-on-islam ( )
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  FiveBooks | Jun 2, 2010 |
I came to this book having little understanding about the Islam faith, and its role around the world, so reading it taught me quite a lot. Having said that my main interest in this book was seeing how the author went from being a fairly typical British Muslim child to an Islamic fundamentalist. Despite being brought up by a family who was against any such radical views the step by step process was a interesting read. Equally interesting was how subsequently the author gradually moved away from the radical elements of Islam to a much more peaceful and moderate view of his faith. The last quarter of the book turned a little more into both a history lesson and talking about the role of Islam in Britain and the rest of the world, something I found of less interest and altogether quite confusing, and as a result it made the last few chapters a little harder going.

The use of Muslim/Islam/Arab terminology throughout the book, and the plethora of organisations within the Islam faith that were mentioned were difficult to follow. This wasn't so bad when the focus of the story was on the author himself, but in other parts of the book it made things a more than a little confusing for me. A glossary of the terms used, and possibly even a little synopsis of each of the organisations mentioned, would have been a hugely welcome addition to this book.

I did like this book, hence the three stars, some of the turning points and people he met along his journey made an engaging read. As a whole I'm glad I picked this up to read, for one it was largely enjoyable, but also for the much needed education it has provided me on this subject area. ( )
1 vote saltybooks | Feb 8, 2010 |
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Beware of extremism in religion; for it was extremism in religion that destroyed those who went before you. -The Prophet Mohammed (570-632)
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During the course of our lives we all change our views and directions; some of us do so more radically than others.
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"The author is probably the most religiously sincere man I have ever come across, and his current faith is revealed by the end of the book in a way which managed to impress even me, a life-long atheist with a very cynical view of all religion. It is Husain's journey to this point that provides the narrative, and in his calm and transparent prose the author has managed to pen the most terrifying story I have ever read. Here was an ordinary British Muslim with a loving and supportive family who started life a poster-boy for integration as a colour and faith-blind student at a multi-ethnic primary school. Without personal tragedy or disaster, without any poor experiences at the hands of the "Establishment", this happy schoolboy found himself recruiting "soldiers of Islam" to destroy his country, and toppled on the brink of taking that route himself. So complete was his indoctrination that even years after his epiphany he found himself experiencing a uniquely Islamic doublethink when it came to the traditions and institutions of his country. What terrifies about this book is the sheer ordinariness of Husain's experience. Through no great genius or inspiration on the part of those who recruited him to the Islamist cause he found himself turning his back on family and nation, burning with a hatred for everyone outside his own small clique. Husain was bright enough to see the cracks in Islamism - the lack of genuine Koranic scholarship, the transmutation of religion into politics, the racism at the heart of Saudi Arabia, and the exploitation of ignorance and disillusionment among young men. It is clear from his experience that most are not so well equipped. This book provides an explanation not only for recent events in the UK but also across the wider world. A must-read for anyone with an interest in the future" -- Amazon.com.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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