To the white majority, who even now think of this country as a placid place, it will seem extraordinary that the author of this dramatic memoir was born in Southend. Maajid Nawaz is still only in his mid-thirties. He was brought up in a prosperous, middle-class, anglophile household of Pakistani origin. In his teens, he became an Essex ”b-boy’’, and got into fights with Paki-bashing skinheads. In college in London, and later at its renowned School of Oriental and African Studies, he was an extreme Islamist activist. He was present when one of his fellow extremists stabbed an African student to death. He married at 21, and had a son.
Nawaz was a leading firebrand in Hizb al-Tahrir (HT), the militant organisation that wishes to overthrow all infidel regimes and establish a new Muslim Caliphate. Although it is not itself a terror organisation, its ideology legitimises violence. The author traces what he calls its ”snail’s trail’’ all the way to al-Qaeda….