Among the Mosques
A Journey Across Muslim Britain
Author(s): Ed Husain
Reviewed by: Ruqaiyah Hibell
Reviewed by: Ruqaiyah Hibell, The Islamic Foundation, UK
Published by: London/Dublin: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, 332pp. ISBN: 9781526618672.
Jaunting around Britain like a latter-day colonial anthropologist, Ed Husain, now known as the Margaret Mead of Islam, sets out to inspect some of Britain’s poorest and most marginalized Muslim communities as representative of Islam in Britain. He traverses ten specifically selected hotspots across the UK which are examined through his imperialist lens. These include the rundownparts of Dewsbury, Manchester, Blackburn, Bradford, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Amid the detritus of urban inner- city decay, poverty and deprivation, resulting from decades of governmental austerity and societal neglect, he pours scorn on his specifically targeted and detrimentally labelled subjects, many of whom are products of British society, for their interpretations and embodiment of Muslimness. This is where identities are seemingly exaggerated, contradictory and/or confused, where some experience a sense of alienation, and not belonging, disaffection and disillusionment from mainstream society – but why is this? Where are the examinations of the sociological, cultural and psychological determinants of religion as the last port of human dignity? – surely absent here. Why does the author not think to interview the many affluent and successful Muslims resident in other areas of the UK, and include visits to new mosques such as the recently opened one in Cambridge? Would such additions not fit within his skewed and adversarial agenda?