Reading always used to be a given, but with everything that this education system in the UK demands at us from GCSE onwards, it’s hard just to read for pleasure. I’m trying, though. I’ve read 5 books so far this year, and although it’s not a lot I’d call it an achievement as last year I read very little. I wanted to try something a bit new (for me anyway)… book reviews!
First up is… The Islamist by Ed Husain
When I was sixteen I became an Islamic fundamentalist.
Five years later, after much emotional turmoil, I rejected fundamentalist teachings and returned to normal life and my family. As I recovered my faith and mind, I tried to put my experiences behind me, but as the events of 7/7 unfolded it became clear to me that Islamist groups pose a threat to this country that we – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – do not yet understand.
Why are young British Muslims becoming extremists?
What are the risks of another home-grown terrorist attack on British soil? By describing my experiences inside these groups and the reasons I joined them, I hope to explain the appeal of extremist thought, how fanatics penetrate Muslim communities and with the truth behind their agenda of subverting the West and moderate Islam. Writing candidly about the life after extremism, I illustrate the depth of the problem that now grips Muslim hearts and minds and lay bare what politicians and Muslim ‘community leaders’ do not want you to know.
This is the first time an ex-member openly discusses life within radical Islamic organisations. This is my story.
This non-fiction book provides an insight into Islamism and the effects it can have. An interesting read which shows the West’s portrayal, compared to that of the Middle East and therefore to learn more about why people are motivated to join these groups, this book is a must-read. As Ed has been a part of many different groups as a Muslim, his personal experiences show us so much; how people can be easily radicalised and how it influences other Muslims to take this path into fundamentalism, which he once explored. Also, how easily they can be indoctrinated in a liberal country like the UK is concerning, but is something we need to be aware of if we are to reduce the problem of extremism.
An eye-opener, in his story in and out of the Islamist movement from the YMO to Hizb-al-Tahrir to Jamat-e-Islami. Before I read this book, I wasn’t aware of these groups, but of course, I was aware that extremism existed within the United Kingdom, but only at a very basic level. As Husain puts it, Islamism is the idea that the Islamic faith requires an entirely Islamic state, and the book is helpful to give a better understanding of this. His background isn’t one which you’d think would lead to extremism, as he was educated in England, starting in a diverse school and then moving to one where he felt lonely. His progression into these Islamist groups gave him more of a sense of purpose and greater belonging and therefore he continued his drive within these movements. He was inquisitive and wanted answers, searching both validation and acceptance.
I give praise to this author for writing on this difficult subject, as many would not have the courage to write something so personal. There were some words that left me confused, but the majority was easy to read. This is definitely a book for all, to understand what is going on within Britain at this time.
Have you read The Islamist? Let me know your thoughts and what’s on your wishlist!
Until next time,