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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent exposition of the The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy and with razor sharp argument and debate. Definitely number one!, 24 Jan. 2013
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Matloub Husayn-Ali-Khan "Matloub" (South Yorkshire, Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
This is a very powerful book by Kenan Malik I have read in recent times, especially in terms of the one that I can really relate to and because this book sharply examines the issue of the Rushdie affair late 1988 and early 1989 split the left activists and caused them to have an 'identity crisis'. As mentioned in this book on page 52: "...Indeed, the 'very formation of the Asian Youth Movement in Bradford', Anandi Ramamurthy, a historian of the AYM, suggests, 'was also an expression of the failure of "white" left organisations in Britain to effectively address the issues that affected Asian communities..." However, the backlash against Muslims from 1989 was further endorsed by United States after 9/11 atrocities in 2001 & 7/7 London bombings in 2005. As someone who had identified as being "Asian" and with Asian Youth Movements (AYM's) politics and after the post-Rushdie 'identity crisis' of the left & my own identification with being a "Muslim" activist since 1990 and even much more pronounced since 2001 (9/11) and 2005 (7/7) events. It is a welcome relief to read the analysis of some of the leading authorities who write about us Muslims and the burning issues of Islamaphobia, gender, identity and media representation and remembering my own small contribution to the debate through "Facing the Book" (Satanic Verses Controversy) in May 1990 on British Television. During which, I came across a book by Shabbir Akhtar: "Be Careful with Muhammad" and Malik also refers to Shabbir Akhtar extensively in this book, Fatwa to Jihad. My own original writings/research discussed the impact of the Satanic Verses/Rushdie Controversy/affair in late 1989 and which forms an important part of the debate, written on 12th December, 1989, summarised/concluded, in the following terms: "...This in turn, led to the (latent) racist undercurrents being whipped up by the media and racists/fascists alike. Therefore, the Rushdie Affair triggered off a 'mini moral panic' with regards to the threat from Islam, though, the previous ones focused on "Barbaric Iran, or Saudi Arabia". Ironically, on a political level both of these countries differ immensely in their brand of religious orthodoxy and their `sphere of influence' differs markedly to each other. Thus, the portrayal of Islam as being homogeneous is a misnomer, though there are differing schools of though in the Muslim faith, and there is also dissent (within it), in the forms of satirical/artistic expression..." Although my writings don't exactly fit in what Kenan Malik is arguing - but I presume that some of the sentiments are expressed maybe similar and our experiences and understandings of the Muslim community and Islam and racism seems to strike a similar chord!

More specifically, Malik's book charts the rise of the AYM's and novelist Tariq Mehmood refers to it as at pages 48-52: "...We can't have this, we can't leave our future in the hands of people we hated like community leaders or Labour Party types'. That was then, he says, 'the seeds of the Asian Youth Movements began to be formed'..." Incidently, Malik also mentions in the concluding paragraphs of chapter two at page 79: "...The AYM, a beacon in the 1970s, of united struggles against racism, split up, torn apart by such multi-cultural tensions..." Very true, is the case. Sadly, Malik fails to grasp the true facts of Sheffield Asian Youth Movement (SAYM), formation and who founded it, and he incorrectly mentions this one particular member of the Sheffield Asian Youth Movement (SAYM) 'as a founder member' at page 79 in the book. The truth of the matter was that the SAYM was initially referred to as the Asian Youth Council (AYC) - due to its original founders being youth workers and (I was there also) I/we were inspired by the visit/meeting/discussion held on Sunday, 12th October, 1980 and held at the Attercliffe (Asian) Youth Club in Sheffield by two Bradford AYM member(s) Anwar Qadir and another member only referred to as "another colleague", to set up another AYM in Sheffield; two years prior to the actual formation of the AYC after the Shizan restaurant attack in June, 1982. However the ongoing Ahmed Khan campaign and the second planned AYM Demonstration in February, 1983 and with the re-formation of AYC in late 1982 as the SAYM. Also, archival evidence on the Tandana Glow website: 'Archiving Social and Political rights' and articles articles in the Burngreave Messenger backs this up.

Finally, despite these minor investigative journalistic lapses, Malik sums up in a nutshell that the legacy of the Rushdie Affair carried into the post-9/11 and present, Malik makes his incisive political analysis and then continues to challenges the many cultural myths that are tied up in the Satanic Verses Controversy/Rushdie Affair that are actually the precursor to a wholly new kind of political narrative. Malik in fact, charts the rise of 'radical' AYMs and does the same to the rise of "Radical Islam" and the factors involved in the Rushdie Affair that have undermined free speech and freedom of expression. Excellent exposition of the The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy and with razor sharp argument and debate. Definitely the number one international seller!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britain of my youth, 17 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy (Hardcover)
I read this book after hearing Christopher Hitchens recommend it to a journalist interested in the state of Islam in the UK. I feel that with the passing of time since I read the book, my memory has faded somewhat, but as I came across the book again on Amazon and nobody had written a review, I thought that I would give an indication as to how much I enjoyed the book. There were several aspects that really struck me about how, in Malik's view, British Muslims were encouraged to group together artificially by councils and other government agencies to present a unified case, and that this is one way in which disparate groups encountering racism and the ills of British city life came to be united.

What made Malik's book so powerful for me is that this is the first account of the Britain of my youth which I really recognise. The racism, the Paki-bashing, the national front, the bigotry, far from being as isolated as some would like to suggest, were pervasive through my youth - and I hated every second of it. I grew up far enough away from Brixton to be aware that there were problems down the road, but close enough to experience the distasteful vagaries of racists and bigots. Malik has supplied me with a book where I can say, 'You want to know what the Britain of my youth was like ... there you are.' I can think of no better compliment to pay a writer.

The more complex problems that Malik investigates are intriguing. Some of his secular friends have become religious and, so Malik seems to suggest, have found an identity, albeit perhaps an inauthentic one (if that is not a disingenuous phrase) in a new form of Islam that is seen as a revitalisation of an old form. Such has the problem of identity become that as in the case where a novelist writes a book, like Monica Ali, it is questioned whether or not she is representative of the community from which she comes. Such an attempt to question whether a novelist should be allowed to write is an offence to every thinking person, to humanity as a whole. It is as much where we are like others, as much as where we differ that makes us who we are. And besides all that a novel is a work of fiction and should be treated as such.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative and interesting book on why we are where we are post Rushdie, 29 July 2013
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Having been brought up in Bradford in the 1970s and having lived for a while in the predominantly "Asian" area of Manningham in the 80s I often wondered why the Bradford I knew and loved had changed into the Bradford (or the perceived Bradford) of today.

This book explains all. If you ever wanted to know how we got to where we are then this is the book to read. A really interesting and informative read. To be recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2010, 26 May 2010
'This is the first book to examine the powerful effect on freedom of speech and expression of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989. It is one of those rare books that tells you what, the sound and fury apart, is really going on. Malik probes the culture of self-censorship and political posturing that erodes free speech and skilfully questions the positions of the left and liberals. In his words: "If we invite the state to define the boundaries of acceptable speech, we cannot complain if it is not just speech to which we object that gets curtailed."'

The Orwell Prize is Britain's most prestigious prize for political writing. The Book Prize judges for 2010 were Jonathan Heawood (director, English PEN), Andrew Holgate (literary editor, Sunday Times) and Francine Stock (writer and broadcaster).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: From Fatwa to Jihad (Paperback)
this book will explain everything
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From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy
From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy by Kenan Malik (Hardcover - 1 April 2009)
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