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The Islamist [Paperback]

Ed Husain
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I Left The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I Left 4.8 out of 5 stars (17)
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Book Description

April 9, 2008 0141030437 978-0141030432
Ed Husain's "The Islamist" is the shocking inside story of British Islamic fundamentalism, told by a former radical. "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 the truth behind their agenda of subverting the West and moderate Islam. Writing candidly about 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.' "A complete eye-opener". ("The Times"). "Captivating, and terrifyingly honest". ("Observer"). "Persuasive and stimulating". (Martin Amis). "Read this articulate and impassioned book". (Simon Jenkins, "Sunday Times"). Ed Husain was an Islamist radical for five years in his late teens and early twenties. Having rejected extremism he travelled widely in the Middle East and worked for the British Council in Syria and Saudi Arabia. Husain received wide and various acclaim for "The Islamist", which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing and the PEN/Ackerley Prize for literary autobiography, amongst others.

Editorial Reviews


?"The Islamist" is a wake-up call for Britain.?
--"The Guardian"
?All who glibly generalise about the no-man?s-land between terrorism and multi-culturalism should read this articulate and impassioned book.?
--"The Times"
?"The Islamist" should be prescribed like medicine. Whatever your prejudices, it will eat into them like acid.?
--"Daily Telegraph"
?"The Islamist" could not be more timely.?
?"The Islamist" is first and foremost a riveting personal narrative, but it also carries a powerful?message.?
--"Literary Review"
?Ed Husain deserves enormous credit?It is an extraordinarily well written memoir.?
--"Mail on Sunday"
?Unique? A call to ordinary Muslims to reclaim their faith?
--"Asian Leader"
?Courageous memoir?
--"Evening Standard"
?Ed Husain is the man we were all looking for after the 7/7 bombings?Not to help police with their investigations?but to help a stunned nation un

About the Author

Ed Husain was an Islamist radical for five years in his late teens and early twenties. Having rejected extremism he travelled widely in the Middle East and worked for the British Council in Syria and Saudi Arabia. Husain received wide and various acclaim for The Islamist, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing and the PEN/Ackerley Prize for literary autobiography, amongst others. He is a co-founder of the Quillium Foundation, Britain's first Muslim counter extremism think tank. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Global (April 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030432
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Every Westerner March 28, 2008
This is truly a must read for every Westerner. The basic story is engaging enough--how a peaceful Muslim becomes a radical Islamist and then becomes disillusioned and returns to true Islam. But the real value in the book is the education you get about the origins of radical Islam, how it is spread and why it is dangerous. I learned more by reading this book than anything else I have ever heard or read. I don't know why it isn't published in the USA. It should be required reading for all.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For a better understanding... April 14, 2008
This book clarified for me the difference between being a Muslim and being an Islamist and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of the difference. All too often, it's difficult to separate the actual religion from what this group of people who are called Islamists practice but I can now say that after reading this book I will never ever just lump the two together.

Read this book and you will be given a lesson on the origins of radical Islam and how it is spread. In contrast, you will also be given a glimpse into how Islam is practiced and learn that the religion has a number of teachings and beliefs which are both beautiful and peaceful.

Ed Husain is also a gifted writer. His words manage to convey enough details that allows me to almost visualize what he is expressing. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inside Scoop January 31, 2009
Ed Husain was born into a traditional Muslim Pakistani family in England. He chronicles his transformation from a moderate sufi background into the world of radical islamism where he becomes an activist and a leader. In the end he returns to an anti-islamist stance of very religious but non-political sufiism. It is fascinating and instructive to observe how a boy who appreciated Britain and whose family opposed political islamism was radicalized as a young man. And it is highly informative of the islamist strategies, practices and goals. He specifically names people, organizations, and mosques, along with their activities, inner workings, and strategems. He reveals not only the islamist attitudes and attacks on British society, but also the conflicts among competing islamist groups and between the islamists and more traditional Muslims.
The account is straightforward, detailed, and journalistically accurate, with neither ranting nor whitewashing. It is a real inside look at the real world of Islam in its various manifestations, mainly in Britain but also in Syria and Saudi Arabia where he spent time after leaving the Islamist movements. In the end he personifies and promotes a traditional sufi type of Islam that is strictly religious but non-political, and laments that this "real" Islam is in the minority.
Mr. Husain fulfills well his objective to tell "the story of my journey from the inside,...inside today's Islam, inside Britains's Muslim communities, inside my own heart."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ed Husain has written a highly informative, personal account of his experiences as a young man who became radical, and who then saw the real consequences of violent radicalism, and changed his mind. Mr. Husain is very honest and deserves a lot of credit for how well he tells his story. He clearly has thought and felt deeply about all these issues. He shares his personal journey and gives the reader a real glimpse into the process by which people are drawn to violent radical theories about how to change and improve society. He shares many insights: for example, the ways in which radical Islam copies the methods of other radical theories, such as socialism, communism and Marxism.

His description of his parents, and of his father's spiritual teacher, whom he calls "Grandfather," and other wonderful people of Islamic faith, such as his wife, Faye, and his Sufi teachers, made me love them and feel so grateful for the opportunity to learn about these highly spiritual, sincere, wise, devout people, practicing this beautiful faith. It was an opportunity to learn about what non-radical Islam is like. I am from a Christian background, and other than some reading I have done about the Sufis, for the first time (with all due respect for everyone's religion and no disrespect of any other religion), I could see why people would call Islam "the religion of peace." I felt that there is something sublime in the sincerity of their relationship with God. It seemed very beautiful. I felt it was a privilege to read about these things.

I also appreciated the descriptions of the devoted people in Syria, and the descriptions of Christians and Muslims getting along there, and his descriptions of Saudi Arabia, which dovetailed with other things I have read about Saudi Arabia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've read this book last year and I really liked it.
It is sort of protest against politic Islam, based on personal experience. This is for the first time that we have opportunity to read about Islamic fundamentalism and life within radical Islamic organizations from an ex-member.

Namely Mr. Husain, British Muslim has become Muslim fundamentalist in sixteen an then years after he saw how wrong is that path. What has awaken his criticism (and opened his eyes) was personal experience with devastating Islamic ideas planted in the minds of Muslim teenagers in Britain that encourage them to be confronted with others in the name of religion.

Time Mr. Husain has spent in Saudi Arabia firmed his beliefs that rigid, old form of Islam: wahhabism joined with political Islam: islamism is causing only suffering all around the globe: Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Madrid, London, New York, Istanbul, etc he realized how that ideology is filled with anger, ideology that he once belonged to is not only a threat to primeval Islam and Muslims but to entire civilized world.
After he finished this road Mr. Husain thought it is his humane duty to speak against something that is presented in Britain as a "true Islam", because the Koran orders to all Muslims to speak the truth, even if the truth is against them.

First part of the book is little slow I must admit and that maybe because I wasn't familiar with things related with British society. Everything was new for me but there are so many information that are more/less familiar to someone who lives in Britain I guess. However, for me it from time to time it was little hard to follow.

What surprised me the most was part about Saudi Arabia.
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