The Islamist – ‘a PR job for the Blair government’

“Young Muslims are no more likely to join Hizb ut-Tahrir than young Christians are to join the Moonies. You have to be of a certain bent to come under the influence of a cult and join as a fully paid-up member. Fortunately, in my experience, the vast majority of young British Muslims have more sense and critical acumen than Husain.

“The suggestion that the radicalisation of Muslim youth can be laid firmly on the door of Hizb is also hard to swallow. The anger of young Muslims against the West has a much broader context. There was a great deal going on during the 1990s that agitated young Muslims and brought anti-Western sentiment to the fore – from the first Gulf War to the genocide of Muslims in Chechnya. But Husain sees the world in reductive, one-dimensional terms.

“When he finally realises his folly, and bids farewell to Hizb, Husain continues to be a reductive extremist. Now, the entire blame for the radicalisation of Muslim youth is placed on multiculturalism – the very idea that gave Husain all the opportunities he had in life! Terrorists, he tells us, are a product of sexual frustration. So we ought to provide them with generous doses of sex to usher them towards peaceful directions.

“Hizb ut-Tahir should be banned so that they can take their nefarious activities underground and become even more difficult to tackle. Muslim organisations are secret terrorist sympathisers. Husain doesn’t tell us what we should do with them. But I suspect he wants everyone locked up, leaving the terrain open for his brand of neocons to run amok….

“The occasional insight of Husain’s memoir notwithstanding, The Islamist seems to have been drafted by a Whitehall mandarin as a PR job for the Blair government.”

Ziauddin Sardar reviews The Islamist in the Independent, 1 June 2007