The Islamist was an attempt to explain complex issues of immigration, multiculturalism, belonging, identity, spirituality, religion, radicalism, politics, and extremism-inspired terrorism to the wider British public, including the vast majority of Muslims who simply do not engage with Islamism or Wahhabism. As a writer for a mass audience, there is only so much I can elucidate in the way of intricate details. The deliberate withholding of detail has rendered me liable to criticism in certain quarters. More importantly, many of the questions raised by Muslim readers of The Islamist has been of a fiqhi nature, i.e. areas of valid disagreement among generations of Muslim scholars.
I am fundamentally opposed to a polarised ‘them-and-us’ view of the modern world. It troubles me, therefore, that I feel the need to address fellow Muslims separately from wider society. This, for me, is indicative of the mental separatism that haunts our communities across Britain and often manifests in various unhealthy ways. The tenor and subtext to many (but not all) of the questions posed to me is also troubling, influenced by the type of thinking that is so harmful to Muslim communal discourse. Nevertheless, I respond in order to honour the advice of several leading British Muslim thinkers whom I hold in high esteem, who think it better to answer the points raised rather than allow these baseless allegations to spread.