The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I Left

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Overview

The true story of one man's journey to Islamic fundamentalism and back

Raised in a devout but quiet Muslim community in London, at sixteen Ed Husain was presented with an intriguing political interpretation of Islam known as fundamentalism. Lured by these ideas, he committed his life to them. Five years later, he rejected extremism and tried to return to a normal life. But soon he realized that Islamic fundamentalists pose a threat that most people-Muslim and non- Muslim alike-simply don't understand.

Based on first-hand experiences and written with pervasive clarity, The Islamist delivers a rare inside glimpse of the devious methods used to recruit new members, and offers profound insight into the appeal fundamentalism has for young Muslims in the Western world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115984
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 745,706
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ed Husain was an Islamic fundamentalist for five years. He has since traveled widely in the Middle East and worked for the British Council in Syria and Saudi Arabia. He is a cofounder of the Quillium Foundation, Britain's first Muslim counter-extremism think tank.
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Murdering for God

    We've all seen their pictures. Mostly blank and white. Usually they're taken from surveillance cameras or driver's licenses. They seem ordinary enough. Young to early middle age men. A few are smiling, but most are expressionless. How many of us have sat and stared at those photos and wondered what goes through the mind of mass murderer? What were they thinking when they set the timer of payload of death and then pulled the pin while screaming "Allah Akbar"? Did they look into the eyes of the unsuspecting victims? Did they see mothers with their children off to the grocery or school? Did they see ordinary people going about their lives in peace? Did they give any consideration to their families waiting for them at home before murdering them?

    How do they justify the carnage they about to bring on innocent lives? Did God promise them some sort of "get-out-of-Hell-free" card in exchange for murdering a pregnant woman or maiming some school child? How does one turn a religion which historically has been one of the most peaceful and tolerate of religions into a one based on hatred and death? These are but a few of the questions I've often pondered, be about the SS Death Squads, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, or more recently, the terror attacks by Muslim extremists. Author Ed Husain was in a unique position to answer some of those questions, and more. He grew up in London's East Side; the product of a strong, loving, Westernized Muslim family (surprisingly, not uncommon characteristics of many other mass murders).

    Through short, sometimes quite innocent steps, he slowly found himself drawn into a web of radicalism which promoted a self-anointed "holier-than-thou" sense of religious superiority, even (and perhaps especially) fellow Muslims, including his family and friends. From there, the steps down the hole of free and rational thought to hatred and murder become shorter and ever more slippery with the blood of the innocent. Husain, however, was fortunate. He found his way back from the insanity of the radicalism before it was too late.

    As we are forced to come to grips with the new reality of a post 9/11 world, stories like the one told by Mr. Husain in his book, "The Islamist" should become required reading of anyone trying to come to terms with the mindset of those who seek to murder in the name of God. The book is both well written, and at the same time, chilling in portrayal of an ordinary young man drawn little by little into this dark world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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