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Enemy Combatant: The Terrifying True Story of a Briton in Guantanamo Paperback – 5 Feb 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (5 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416522654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416522652
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A brilliant, terrifying and deeply moving account . . . A warning of the dangers inherent in using religion to justify war' -- TONY BENN

'If this was a thriller, people would say it was unlikely. Unhappily, it's true' -- The Titles and Authors to watch in 2006, IRISH TIMES

From the Inside Flap

Moazzam Begg is an ordinary man who has endured an extraordinary fate – he is one of the nine Britons detained in the camps at Guantanamo Bay, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and whose precise nature has never been determined. As far as the US government was concerned, it was enough to label him an ‘enemy combatant’.

Moazzam was arrested in Pakistan during the panic-stricken months after the 9/11 attacks, having been working across the border in Afghanistan on education and water projects. Hooded, shackled and cuffed, he was taken first to the detention facility at Kandahar, then on to Bagram and finally Camp Echo in Cuba. In all he spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was subjected to over three hundred interrogations as well as death threats and torture, and witnessing the killings of two detainees. He was released early in 2005 without explanation or apology.

Enemy Combatant is his riveting story. Taking us behind the razor wire for the first time, it reveals the terrifying and Kafka-esque world into which he was thrown, a world governed by confusion, fear and frustration as he and his fellow inmates struggled to come to terms with their incarceration and with being accused of crimes of which they had little knowledge, let alone responsibility. Here too is a fascinating insight into the mindsets of his captors and interrogators, describing not just the pointlessness of much of the questioning from MI5 or the FBI but also the wildly divergent views on the ‘war on terror’ Moazzam encountered from the US soldiers on guard detail.

But Enemy Combatant is more than just a powerful and compelling account of a miscarriage of justice. It also explores fully the context of Moazzam’s arrest and his background as an intelligent, politically engaged Muslim living in the West; someone who finds common ground with fellow Muslims enduring oppression around the world but who finds the violent and criminal activity carried out in its name as abhorrent as the Western commentators who all too readily equate the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’. Both candid and forthright, it is both an important contribution to the debate about religious integration and a modern classic of incarceration literature. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Grendel on 22 Aug 2006
Format: Hardcover
I saw Moazzam Begg speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2006 -- he came across as modest, intelligent, calm and unembittered by his atrocious experiences at the hands of stupid governments. Many of the questions he was asked (by people who hadn't read his account) had more than a hint of skepticism about them and were a little insulting, but he always refused to rise to the bait, instead using his formidable knowledge of western and eastern culture to gently prove to his audience that he was not a terrorist and that his years of hell in custody were a farcical and dangerous overreaction of paranoid states. If you read this book, you will understand that the vast majority of people that have been picked up in the counterproductive "War On Terror" are innocent, and you will scratch your head in disbelief at the unnecessary brutality that is routinely inflicted on them in your name. As this book makes plain, the US and UK response to the horrific terrorism of 9/11 and since is so tragically misguided. These governments are doing EXACTLY what the terrorists want them to do, and recruiting enemies in the process. It is calm, informed, thoughtful books like this one that will heal the divide -- not another US fantasy of "spreading democracy" by force if necessary in the middle east (but not in China, Burma, North Korea and so on...)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Eman on 8 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
A fantastic read. Well-written and gripping. Moazzem Begg is articulate and at times amusing as he writes about his account of his horrific capture, his time in solitary confinement and subsequent release.
The book gives insight into a Muslim man who is British and more educated and cultured than many of his captors.
It is interesting and yet worrying as it reveals the stark realities of Guantanamo Bay and the real victims of the War on Terror.
Highly highly recommended for anyone who wants to read a stimulating and meaty story..the bonus this one has is that it really happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hamed Hassan on 8 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
Well worth the read, extremely refreshing to obtain an informed analysis and perspective from an individual who had formed their views without sitting in a library and on the other side of the proverbial fence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. ahmad on 16 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Great book to read, once I started I really could not put it down - really. i havn't often come across books that are really well written. This book gives great insight in what it's really like to go through Guantanamo prison. One of the most gripping books i've read in years..
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Umm Uthmaan on 30 Aug 2006
Format: Hardcover
Once I purchased Enemy Combatant, I couldn't put it down. Few books can claim to be written in a tone that alternates humour, seriousness, humility, self-reflection, moments of despair, and prevailing optimism.

Moazzam's account of his personal search takes the reader from the NF days in Birmingham, to war-torn Bosnia, to sinister Turkey (amateur spies abound!) and devastated Afghanistan.

As a convert to Islaam, I have been on "both sides of the fence". I feel that Enemy Combatant has the power to win hearts and minds, provoking dialogue to reach common ground. Above all, this book hammers home the point that the Guantanamo detainees, demonised by the press and abandoned by hypocitical leaders, are husbands, fathers and sons.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dr S W Hussain on 16 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
Shock, anger, amazement, disbelief, sadness and hope. Just some of the emotions and feelings you will encounter by reading this book. If there is only one book you read this year, 'Enemy Combatant' should be it.

Moazzem Begg manages to provide a detailed and compelling account of his kidnap, imprisonment, torture and detention without trial at the hands of the US in the so-called 'war on terror'. For UK readers, the implicit involvement of our own government in his ordeal is chilling and should act as a wake up call to all individuals who advocate the rule of law and the precept of innocent until proven guilty.

This is not just one man's tail of his own personal suffering. The harsh and devastating impact of his kidnap on all those around him especially his father, wife and children is made clear and highlights one aspect of the 'war on terror' which we do not see reported by the media.

After everything that has happened to this man, I was expecting a book full of anti-American, anti-Western sentiments. However, to the author's credit, this book is anything but that. We find a man who is deeply 'British' and proud of his roots and brings to the fore the whole concept of being a British Muslim.

The best aspect of this book however, is how the author describes in tremendous detail his time spent in captivity. The inhumane treatment that was vetted out to him and others is apparent yet this is coupled with a real insight into the individuals who were his captors and the relationships he formed with them, particularly during his time in solitary confinement.

How he coped with the ordeal is a testimony to the strength, honour, courage, conviction and unwavering faith of the man and we should all salute him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hussain on 14 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book is one of the best i have read.it is definalty worth reading. what happens in the countries that the us military have entered could be not be worse if you made it up. moazzam begg's writing brings it to life.
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