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.’ 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.