By Robbie Smith
A controversial book about Islam in the UK has been accused of not making clear its use of pseudonyms as well as making inaccurate claims. Ed Husain’s Among the Mosques, published by Bloomsbury, explores Islam in the UK by travelling to different places of worship.
It quotes council worker ‘Mahfuz Alimain’, who alleges that Muslim refugees in the UK had grown “accustomed” to violence and so were more likely to commit terrorism. Manchester City Council said that they had “no record” of such a person working for them. Husain has since claimed that he was using a pseudonym to protect the identity of his source. However, the published book has no explanation that he is using different names. A newspaper serialisation of the book was changed to make clear that another alias was being used elsewhere.
Elsewhere in the text Husain does acknowledge one use of a pseudonym. Dr Usaama al-Azami, a British Islamic Studies lecturer at the University of Oxford, told The Londoner: “This kind of thing is very incendiary. For one thing, he’s forgotten to mention that these are aliases.” Khadijah Elshayyal of Edinburgh University tweeted last week that Husain’s “claim about use of ‘aliases’ would mean something if he had clarified it in his book, and used it consistently.”
The book also claims that Blackburn and Darwen council threatened with “eviction” residents who fly the British flag. The council have said that such a claim is “laughable”. Husain founded think tank the Quilliam Foundation and once worked for the Tony Blair Foundation. Bloomsbury and Husain declined to comment.