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The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I Leftby Ed Husain
Synopses & Reviews
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.
In "Socialism Is Great!" Zhang recounts her quest for freedom — from constraints both political and familial. It's a tale that crackles with insight and wit: "My peers and I were too young to appreciate the pleasures of boredom compared to the political terror our parents suffered," she observes. Bent on not becoming "another faceless worker ant," she carved out her independence, wearing Western-style... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) clothes, studying English, publishing flowery articles in the factory's newsletter and earning a degree at a technical school. It's no wonder, then, that when the protests broke out at Tiananmen Square in 1989, Zhang was right there, leading a group of marchers from her factory. Now a journalist in Beijing, she offers both an inspiring personal story and a unique look at a time when, as she puts it, "the colorful trash of capitalism was creeping into China's gray kingdom." Also of Interest: — "In an age when gastronomic fiction has become fashionable," Emile Zola's 1873 novel "The Belly of Paris" (Modern Library, $16) "seems ahead of its time," writes food historian Mark Kurlansky in the introduction to his new translation of the book. Set amid the bustling Les Halles market, the novel "revolves around the graphically illustrated conceit that the bourgeoisie not only eats too much but has an unhealthy obsession with food." Its descriptions of cuisine, too, are notable for their length, detail and humor. — If age is the culprit in memory loss, "what, precisely, was it stealing?" Sue Halpern asks in "Can't Remember What I Forgot" (Three Rivers, $14.95), an exploration of brain science in which she plays the role of both author and guinea pig. — Declaring his book "a protest against political Islam," Ed Husain offers an insider's view of Muslim extremism in "The Islamist" (Penguin, $16), a memoir about his transformation from a peaceful Muslim to a radical and back. — After her daughter died at age 5 of a strep infection, novelist Ann Hood learned to knit and got a tattoo, "but mostly what I did was hide," she recalls in her memoir "Comfort" (Norton, $12.95), an eloquent homage to her lost child and newfound self. Nora Krug is The Washington Post Book World's monthly paperback columnist. Reviewed by Nora Krug, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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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. 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 a Muslims and non-Muslims alike a do not yet understand.
This is the first time an ex-member openly discusses life within radical Islamic organisations. This is my story.
Back when the book was launched in the UK, news of the publicity storm The Islamist made even the front page of the International Herald Tribune:
aThe Islamista]has caused a ruckus in the newspapers, on television, on talk shows and in blogs.a
The Islamist has received wide and various acclaim from both the political right and left; film rights are being sought and there is still a great buzz around this important and timely book.
"When I was 16 I became an Islamic fundamentalist. Five years later, after much emotional turmoil, I rejected fundamentalist teachings and returned to normal life and my family. . . . This is my story."
About 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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