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Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent – Inside British Islam

Author: Innes Bowen, Hurst & Company, 2014
Publisher: Hurst & Company

The author of this account on British Muslims joined the BBC in 1994 after obtaining a first degree in political theory (University of Liverpool) and a spell at law school. In subsequent decades she specialised in politics and current affairs as an editor and producer, working on programmes such as File on Four and Analysis. She has a long-standing interest in British Muslim affairs, beginning in 2003. Her forensic and journalist skills are in evidence this work, which is based on over seventy interviews with a wide ranging and eclectic mix between 2007 and 2013, also drawing on visits to some mosques and community centres. She notes that ‘in the main, I have been treated with courtesy — and often with warmth.’[1] Many went out of their way to be helpful, for example a visit to Willesden High Road seemed to have been an experience, ‘with a local Shi’i to show me around’, […] every few minutes we pass a person or a place with impressive Shia connections.’ Similarly there were Salafi leaders, ‘who talked to me candidly’. She was also invited to Salafi and Dawudi Bohra homes. This publication is a measure of the friendliness and open-mindedness of British Muslims, albeit the interviews taking place after 7/7 (the first six in 2007), and some after Woolwich, when there has been a need for bridge-building and communication.


LIVE BLOG: The memory of Rabaa

The memory of Rabaa

MEMO follows events around the world in memory of the Rabaa massacre.

We will be live blogging throughout the day.

This live blog will begin from 10am BST on August 14, 2014


Egypt's lost power: the hidden story of Egypt's oil and gas industry

Clayton Swisher with Yossi Maiman"Whenever you have mutual interests between even two enemies and they agree on how to deal with it so they both profit that's perfect, that's exactly what you want because people like money and money talks," Edward Walker, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, told Al Jazeera on how to use gas to tie Egypt and Israel together and create a relationship of interdependence.


Monthly Media Digest - April 2013

One of this month's biggest pieces of news was the resignation of Western backed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. There were widespread hunger strikes in Israeli prisons in protest against the death of an inmate suffering from cancer who had also faced medical neglect by the Israeli authorities, while hunger striker, Samer Issawi, ended his hunger strike following a deal struck with the same authorities.

Writing about the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, NYT columnist Thomas L Friedman described it as "very bad news". Unelected Fayyad, you see, "was the 'Arab Spring' before there was an Arab Spring". This was a prime example of the conundrum facing Western liberals who want to export democracy but only if the right people win elections.


Syria: From the Great War to Civil War

Syria: From the Great War to Civil WarAuthor: John McHugo

Hardcover: 291 pages

Publisher: Saqi Books

ISBN-10: 0863567533

Review by John Kelly


LIVE BLOG: Foreign and commonwealth office questions

Foreign and commonwealth office questions

MPs will ask the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond and his team, questions on international affairs

We will be live blogging throughout the session.

This live blog will begin from 11:30am BST on July 22, 2014


Film Review: Abu Haraz

Abu HarazWhen the Merowe Dam was built on the Nile in Sudan, life for the villagers of Abu Haraz would change forever

In the small village of Abu Haraz in northern Sudan, life appears to continue as normal. A fisherman negotiates his way between palm trees on the River Nile, women make flat bread on an open oven and siblings fight by the water.