So it was that Mail Online lapped up Husain’s new book Among the Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain. The headline, as is customary with the Mail titles, tells readers what to think. “British towns that are no-go areas for white people: Muslim author's study of mosques reveals children 'attacked for being white', parents making families live under Taliban-like rules and women who can't leave home without permission”.
Ah, the old “No Go Areas” ploy. This claim is backed up by no facts whatsoever: Husain takes the word of two white men in Blackburn as fact and appears not to bother verifying it. Moreover, it seems no-one at Mail Online wants their name on this particular by-line, and so the piece is attributed simply to “Mail Online Reporter”.
Why that might be can be seen from the pushback to Husain’s claims, not least that the roll-call of “no go areas” includes the increasingly affluent, trendy (and 88% white) Manchester suburb of Didsbury, an inclusion that has brought ridicule raining down on both Husain and Mail Online. “Didsbury is apparently a 'no go area for white people'. Cutting around it is like being on the set of a Richard Curtis movie” was one comment.
Hannah al-Othman added “Even a 30-second Google would reveal that the only thing that Didsbury is a no-go zone for is non-organic produce”. As for Blackburn having a no-go area, well: “The only no go area in Blackburn is Next when the sale is on or a busy Primark”. Then came the idea that Muslim somehow equals extremism.
Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal made the obvious point: “With respect to author whose ‘research’ this is, as someone who actually lives ‘up north’ & regularly interacts with all these communities - this is a load of dangerous rubbish … I can talk to all types of extremists & guess what, paint an extreme picture … There are NO No-Go zones”.
As for Husain’s book, Sameer Rahim from Prospect magazine was unimpressed. “A curiosity this. Among the Mosques has (so far) garnered quite a few positive notices. But it is, by some distance, the worst book I have reviewed in nearly 20 years as a critic - at times laughable, at others frankly sinister”. And he homed in on one particular point.
“A book that seriously suggests deportation is an option for British Muslims if they don’t ‘modernise, integrate’ etc should have no place in respectable discussion. Or, I might add, a respectable publisher like [Bloomsbury]”. But Husain did garner approval from Colin Brazier of GB News, which tells you all you need to know about the new broadcast entrant - it’s going to bash Muslims and Rotten Lefties™. While claiming to be impartial.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
Ed Husain is attracting significant ridicule already. But as his book, and its claims, are what the right-leaning media establishment want to hear, he’ll be quids in very soon.
Just when you thought the Muslim bashing had died down, the bigots get an excuse to fire it up again. Still, makes a change from blaming all ills on the EU. Mustn’t grumble.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at