Book cover of The Islamist
|Dewey Decimal||320.5/57092 B 22|
|LC Class||BP65.G7 H87 2007|
The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left is a 2007 book about Ed Husain's five years as an Islamist. The book has been described as "as much a memoir of personal struggle and inner growth as it is a report on a new type of extremism." The son of pious Muslim parents from South Asia, living in East London, Husain joins the Islamist group Young Muslim Organization at the age of sixteen, before moving on to be active in Hizb ut-Tahrir while in college. After disheartening experiences with factional infighting and sectarian violence at his college, and unIslamic behavior while living in Saudi Arabia as an English teacher, Husain rejects political Islam and returns to "normal" life and his family. Husain describes his book as explaining "the appeal of extremist thought, how fanatics penetrate Muslim communities and the truth behind their agenda of subverting the West and moderate Islam."
The book has been "much-praised," although the praise has not been unanimous.
Anushka Asthana of The Observer wrote, "This captivating, and terrifyingly honest, book is his attempt to make amends for some of the wrongs he committed. In a wake-up call to monocultural Britain, it takes you into the mind of young fundamentalists, exposing places in which the old notion of being British is defunct." 
According to John Gray of the London School of Economics, "The Islamist is first and foremost a riveting personal narrative, but it also carries a powerful and—for some—unfashionable message. Particularly among the new army of evangelical atheists, there will be those who see his story as another proof of the evils of faith schools and of religion in general. Yet Husain did not finally sever his links with Islamism by becoming a militant atheist and converting to an Enlightenment faith in humanity—as secular fundamentalists urge. He did so by rediscovering what he describes as 'classical, traditional Islam', which includes Sufi mysticism""
A review from The Age commented that the book "is an important artefact of our age, carrying a valuable testimony. The challenge - likely to be unmet by ideologues - is to reflect upon its totality, rather than appropriate it selectively for some narrow, predetermined cause."
- Brian Whitaker, who was Middle East editor of The Guardian for seven years, concludes his review by writing that, "The tricky question is what, in the hothouse of youthful politics—whether at Oxford, in Liverpool or east London—leads some to violence while others, like Ed Husain, end up writing books about it. Ed doesn't seem to have an answer, and I doubt that anyone else really knows either."
- In The Independent, Ziauddin Sardar, complains of what he sees as Husain's "reductive extremist" activity, first embracing "the extremist cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad, and ... the atrocious Hizb ut-Tahir", and then going in the opposite direction blaming multiculturalism "for the radicalisation of Muslim youth". He goes on to dismiss Husain's book, saying "The Islamist seems to have been drafted by a Whitehall mandarin as a PR job for the Blair government."
- Writing in The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting, argues that "Husain's book will be used in many debates—the future of multiculturalism, whether infringements of civil liberties are necessary to combat terrorism, what parts of Islamist histories from Asia and the Middle East a British Muslim community needs to jettison. One suspects the naivety which took him into Hizb-ut Tahrir has blinded him as to how his story will be used to buttress positions hostile to many things he holds dear—his own faith and racial tolerance, for example. A glance at the blog response to a Husain piece in the Telegraph reveals how rightwing racism and anti-Islamic sentiment are feasting on his testimony."
- A commentary page piece in The Guardian by Riazat Butt accused Husain of having been a peripheral character whose association with Islamic groups in Britain occurred over a decade ago. "He is happy to reinforce stereotypes and justifies this by saying he knows what inspires terrorists—the likely inference being that his book is an educational tool. But Husain was not a terrorist and his account is dated and misleading. The groups he mentions, and their modus operandi, are more fluid and sophisticated now. Husain provides no new answers and no fresh information. The activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir and their ilk have been well documented already. I have to ask why, when his experiences are firmly based in the 1990s, this book is being published now and is being greeted with an adulation that is both embarrassing and unwarranted."
- Ed Husain
- East London Mosque
- Islamism in London
- Undercover Mosque
- Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within
- Muslim Brotherhood
- Islamic terrorism
- Literary Review, "The Pathology of Faith" by John Gray
- Husain, Ed (2007). The Islamist: why I joined radical Islam in Britain, what I saw inside and why I left. Penguin. p. 294.
- How Mohammed became Ed
- The Sunday Times, April 29, 2007, Confessions of a former fanatic
- "Martin Amis reviews The Islamist", The Times, May 5, 2007,
- David Aaronovitch, "The bishop and the Islamist: a cautionary tale", The Times, May 8, 2007
- "A true Islamic voice", Anushka Asthana, The Observer, May 6, 2007
- [[Melanie Phillips, "Another brave Muslim speaks up", April 24, 2007 ]
- http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/08/21/1187462232002.html, The Age, August 21, 2007
- Brian Whitaker, "Bank of fundamentalism". The Guardian, May, 2007
- Reviewed by Ziauddin Sardar, The Independent, June 1, 2007
- We were the brothers, Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, May 12, 2007
- How Mohammed became Ed,The Guardian, May, 2007
- The Islamist - Penguin Books
- Review of the Islamist by The Guardian
- CNN Interview with Ed Husain (Video)
- CNN Interview Transcript
- "The 'Islamist' bogeyman" by Taji Mustafa, executive committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain
- Review of the Islamist by Ziauddin Sardar, The Independent
- Review of the Islamist by Inayat Bunglawala, The Muslim Council of Britain
- April 21, 2007 How a British jihadi saw the light