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

by Ed Husain


The Islamist is CHILLING... To be very objective, and if read with an open mind, one can see how young guys who have been brought up in the mindset that "Islam is good" can get sucked into this style of life and think that they are really doing something that is wonderful—in the eyes of Allah.  They are taught not to question, or at the very worst, just to obey and get the results that are needed, no matter what it takes to make that happen.   These young men are the ones who blow people up without any thought of those whom they annihilate.   Many would just as soon kill you as to look at you, and yet they will look at you, and be obliging or diffident to you, all the while hating everything you are.

Mr. Husain has looked inside of his heart and felt the English side of it—wanting to have all the things that those of the English or Western culture feel are rightly and justly theirs.  And then he fights within his mind those pressures that come from and foment in the heart of his Arab upbringing.  I would hate to have to live in his dual mind and heart, for it must be a really tough place to be, always having a fight in your mind over the rights and wrongs of each side of the coin.  He will always have this fight in his subconscious, on every subject that doesn't ring true to both of those belief systems.

I would wonder when, or IF those fights will ever stop and force him to give in to what he knows (after seeing the revelations of the faith) or let him live to his potential, or will they destroy him?  Right now, it seems as though he and the world will be the winner in this fight within, but you have to wonder whether or not sometime in the future, based on certain stressors that might be put in front of him, he might go back to that other side of his mind and become what his jihadist instructors wanted all along for him to be?  I ask this because of what he describes about the ways that those in the Islamist Movement are taught, and how I know that teachings always come home to roost when the mind is most vulnerable.  And they are taught to listen to that vulnerability as surely as they are taught to recite "Allah Akbar..."

Don’t get me wrong here, I believe that Mr. Husain’s motives are pure and honest, and I believe that he wants them to always be that. It is just that I know how mind conditioning can always be reverted to, along with its teachings, in many difficult situations.  Who would Mr. Husain be, the Western English Man, or the Islamist with the core beliefs that he was taught during the five years he was active in the movement???

The Islamist is an absolute "MUST READ" for anyone who really wants to understand the turmoil inside of Islamist Jihadism and the future of dealing with the Islamic youth who are being brought up under that governance.  And that includes anyone who wants to live in this world that is quickly being turned into a war zone of Islam.  You have to understand it, for your own safety.

The Book

Penguin Books
Apr 28, 2009
0143115987 / 978-0143115984
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The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2009
© 2009