Book Read: The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain since 1800 by Humayun Ansari

The striking diversity is the most distinctive feature of the Muslim community in Britain. Yet, as Humayun Ansari argues in this mammoth history of Islam in Britain, British Muslims have consistently been portrayed as denizens of a monolithic and undifferentiated world, ill at ease with modernity, secularism and democracy. Through painstaking research, and an inspired exploration of the issues of identity, Ansari sets out to dispel this absurd, but widely held, myth.

The Infidel Within demonstrates that Muslims are as loyal to the Crown as any other community. The majority population, suggests Ansari, must appreciate that Islam is an integral part of British history and a living reality in Britain. Instead of focusing on a group of “hegemonic” extremists, we should provide support and space for alternative interpretations to blossom.

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