New Book: Tahir Abbas, “Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics”

The expression of an Islamic political radicalism in Britain has been one of the most dramatic developments in recent decades. Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics explores the nature of this phenomenon by analysing the origins of Islam and its historical contact with Western Europe and Britain, and the emergence of Islamic political radicalism in the Muslim world and in the West.

Tahir Abbas draws on historical analysis and contemporary case studies to explore the post-war immigration and integration of Muslim groups, the complex relations that exist between a secular liberal Britain and a diverse but multifaceted Islam, and the extent of social and economic inequalities that affect Muslims as individual citizens and in local area communities. He shows how violent extremism among British Muslims is in reality influenced by a range of issues, including the factors of globalisation and contemporary politics, media and culture. Analysing and dissecting public policy, Abbas offers suggestions for tackling the major social, political and economic questions facing British Muslims in the post-7/7 era.

An important contribution to the study of religion, ‘race’ and ethnicity in modern Britain, this accessible work will be of interest to anyone working in the field of Islamic studies, sociology and political radicalism.

*Reviews*

‘Much of the commentary on Islam today is shrill and one-dimensional which further widens the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims. Because Tahir Abbas’ Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics is reasoned, scholarly and aims to provide historical context it is a powerful corrective. Being both British and Muslim allows him to present us with a truly insider’s account.’ – Professor Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University

‘In the face of so many superficial denunciations of radical Islam in Britain, Tahir Abbas provides an account that is both broad in its historical coverage and profound in its social analysis. In his sweep of several centuries of South Asian Islamic thinking, Abbas includes the conflicts engendered by British colonialism, and the complex processes of immigration and settlement in Britain. He is especially good in his own speciality, the patterns of inequality in education and in the labour market, through which he shows how the global growth in radical thinking can articulate with domestic social disparities. Here is a distinctive voice entering the debate.’ – John R. Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis.

‘Terrorist incidents have created controversy about Islam and Muslims, and British Muslims have been part of this debate. Media and lay people take a very superficial view and blame Islam and Muslims for radicalisation. This book is an in-depth study of the causes of radicalisation of a section of British Muslims. It is a very useful study indeed and all those who want to understand this complex phenomenon should read the book: Dr Abbas has done a good job!’ – Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, India

‘A remarkable book, well researched, comprehensive in its coverage and highly relevant to contemporary British political concerns.’ – John Rex, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Warwick University