The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Ed Husain at it again

Posted by theislamist on June 10, 2007

I had hoped that my criticism of Ed Husain and the critical analysis by many in the Muslim community would have given him a dose of common sense. However he is at it again – not satisfied with the dozens of book reviews he has enjoyed and the tens of thousands of pounds he has earned from book sales, he is now complaining in the Observer that Muslims are generally saying nasty things about him [hat tip: Yusuf Smith on DeenPort].

If some Muslims at East London Mosque have threatened Mahbub, they must desist. Not only is this haram but probably exactly the kind of response that Mahbub was looking for and expected. He can now add weight to his argument that mosques are hotbeds of extremism and compliment himself on his admirable bravery and courage in writing his book.

Yahya Birt has correctly pointed out that, “we are not given proper evidence that this third-party reported threat was inspired by “Islamism”, or proof that the mosque authorities were somehow invovlved. What has been the reason to set out these sorts of reports, given by a third party, in the Observer? Was this done after other steps were taken previously and then found insufficient, and “not fit for purpose”? “

The response of Mahbub to all kinds of criticism from all sides of the political spectrum is remarkable and certainly not fitting of one who claims the path of tasawwuf. As Sumayyah Evans has written, there seems to be a Bush like ultimatum of either you agree with his personal narrative or you’re an extremist. Mahbub is arrogantly refusing to accept any credible criticism of his book or viewpoint – he seems to allege that all criticism if driven by ‘Islamism’ or by moderates with family connections to ‘Islamists’.

On one discussion thread, he actually insists that all that ask him questions must reveal all past, present and family connections to ‘Islamism’. One brother who spent a total of 9 years with MAB and YM is arrogantly told by Husain that he can’t possibly shed the ‘Islamist’ influence.

Remarkably, Mahbub ignores all of the brothers and sisters who have been demanding answers to the many inaccuracies in his writings. While ignoring these people and labelling them as ‘Islamists’ or sympathisers of ‘Islamists’,  all Mahbub can talk about is the support he is getting from a couple of former ‘Islamists’. Why does he not talk of the support he is getting from the neocon sympathisers who spearheaded the Iraq war? Why is he not ’emboldened’ by the support of Melanie Phillips and her ilk? What about those right-wing Zionists and neo-nazi BNP supporters who have been emboldened by his book?

He also talks of silent support from some of the Sufi shuyukh but names no names. However, from what my Sufi brothers have told me, some of the leading shuyukh have in fact expressed huge dismay at Mahbub’s actions and his misrepresentation of some of their opinions.

Those who remain close to Mahbub must explain to him that he cannot continue falsely slandering other Muslims and misrepresenting the opinions of the Shuyukh.  What may have started as a personal biography or narrative has unfortunately turned Mahbub into a pawn in the hands of those who are seeking to create divisions within our community. Enough is enough.

I agree entirely with Sidi Yahya who writes, “…I must say that his subsequent behaviour and conduct have certainly helped to tip people towards a more sceptical reading of his motives, and, no, they are not people who have been duped by Islamists, or indeed have been working members of Islamist organisations. Nor have they ever been Islamists — unlike Sidi Mahbub! Is he so sure that he can characterise their responses as naive?”


One Response to “Ed Husain at it again”

  1. In your post on Ed Hussain you don’t tackle the main thrust of Ed’s argument, that is the politicisation of Islam is the critical element which is driving young Muslim men to destroy their lives on packed buses.

    Do you agree that it is legitimate to conflate the religion of Islam with a specific political programme?

    I can understand why British Muslims are ‘politicised’ in our current geopolitical climate, but I can assure you so are atheists who disagreed with Iraq, or Christians, or Quakers. What is dangerous though is to read into the Koran a political theory: Christianity had to go through a long stage of seperation between religion and politics – I think this process was already developed in Islam until the rise of political Islam or Islamism.

    I’d be interested to know your response to this.


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