The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left

Sameer Rahim writes:

When I was ten years old, I attended a youth camp organised by my local mosque. At the end of a week of lectures and quizzes we were asked to present a project on an aspect of Islam, preferably something we had learned during the week. A set of older boys produced a booklet called ‘Islam Is the Solution’. The front cover was an image of two tanks facing each other, one flying the American flag, the other the Soviet. Heavenly light emanating from an Iranian flag descended between them. Mahmoud, the leader of the set, wore a black and white checked scarf; his beard was thick but neatly trimmed; he was 18 years old. I knew Mahmoud slightly and was keen to speak to him. ‘Islam is the complete solution to our problems,’ Mahmoud said, explaining that our brothers in Afghanistan and Palestine and Kashmir would only be successful if they rejected Communism and capitalism for the true faith. ‘Islam is politics and politics is Islam,’ he said. ‘We are battling against the kuffar and only fools think otherwise.’

(LRB 19 July 2007)