Ok serious bit first; apparently Shahid Malik, the first Muslim minister and the MP with the highest expense bill in Westminster has been stopped   by US customs officials on his return to the UK from a series of talks in Washington on beating Islamic extremism. I’ve heard stories of this type of over-reaction happening to mere mortals and friends-of-friends but this heavy-handedness is hugely embarassing for the Americans.

Second thing I wanted to say is not un-related. Anyone who’s read the much publicised the Islamist will find this spoof site the Islamicist a hoot – if they have a sense of humour that is. I found it via the blog of Purple a mysterious (?) East London Bangladeshi who ought to post more often. (S)he calls it a cross between Adrian Mole and Ed Hussain. I read the real book over the Summer and found it problematic in quite a few places. There is tons out there on the web about it – I found Pickled Politics incisive at times among others. It’s the tale of a nice little boy turned troubled young man and his entry into the world of Hiz B’ut Tahrir. It describes at length the way they put the fear of god (literally) into the authorities at Newham Sixth Form college with their unpleasant ways in the early 90s. Things escalate before the narrator finds a bird (he marries her) and via some international adventures in TEFL he is reformed.

Difficult to choose a sample quote from this spoof/parody site as so many are funny but here’s an insight into halal fast food:

Ordering Chicken and Chips, Islamicist style

Akhee, the sign on your door says Southern Fried Chicken. Which south? Who is it who decided where south should be? Now do you know where the south is, my brother? Don’t look away… face the truth! The south they are referring to is the southern states of America my friend. That’s right, its not Surrey or Kent, its America. AmeriKKKa. The only nation to let off a nuclear bomb. The nation built on slaves. The only nation to almost wipe out the natives and get away with it. And the ones that are left, they let them gamble my friend, in casinos no less. Think of those people gambling their souls away. Food for thought from the Southern Fried States. Let me ask you a question, have you been to the states? Don’t answer that! I can see from your face you are speechless at the evil images my words convey. We are all slaves in our own way. Think deeply and reflect…

…Can I have some chilli sauce on that..thanks.

David T of Harry’s Place has also lavished praise on itAlthough I’ve never got the impression that the HP site is too fond of Muslims, most of the criticism of Hussain’s book was that he has profited from his confession financially and by becoming a neo-con Nu-Lab poster boy (dispensing advice at the Bournemouth Conference for example) – Harry’s Place are often also accused of coming from the same political place. The Islamicist site just makes Islamic extremists look… well silly.  

As well as the (actual) Islamist I read Sarfraz Manzoor’s biog over the Summer. It ends with the author happy in his skin; pround to be British but also appreciative of America. However at a recent bookreading described here he recounted a similar episode to that which happened to Shahid Malik where he was stopped with a camera crew when entering the US. This happened too late for Manzoor’s book but had made him reconsider his thoughts on the US of A. Despite having been all round Europe and further afield myself, I’m just about the only person I know in England who’s never been to America. None of this should put me off but it does make me think. In the meantime the real Ed Hussain is at the Progress conference in just a few short days from now.