After Fatima Barkatullah's (one of this blogs regular commentators) recommendation I was looking forward to reading this. Strangely, some of the points she mentioned (about the scientific miracles in the Quran) being good for Dawa, seemed to me artificial and contrived. Perhaps I was being too picky, and having been forewarned, I was looking out for it. More interesting for me personally, and good Dawa in its own way, were his discussions with and comments about fellow prisoner Uthaman al Yemeni, unabashed and self confessed Al Qaeda operative, who knew bin Ladin personally.
I haven't talked to Moazzam, but inshallah, the account seems accurate and honest. Although the book is authored by Moazzam he mentions that he has got help from Victoria Brittan. The inside page mentions "with" the above. How much is Moazzam and how much is Victoria is never really stated. All said this is a book that is well written but not a masterpiece of literature, but I do not mean by that to detract from the importance of this book. It is very readable, and was hard to put down. It's a story that tells itself, and one cannot help but feel for Moazzam and his family, and anger at the Americans, British and Pakistanis for the disgusting way that they are, until now, treating human beings, many, if not most of them entirely innocent of the crimes they are accused of.
Highlights of the book are the relationships and conversations that Moazzam strikes up with the guards, and how well he conveys the emotions and feelings that go along with three years of solitary confinement, and of course the complicity of the British government in all of this. Then there is that fact that he is well educated, articulate British Asian Muslim, and the book contains his experiences of growing up in the racially charged streets of Birmingham. His education contrasts with with the ignorance of some of his FBI interrogators, and provides some of the most humorous moments of the book.
This book really deserves to be read, no one, Muslim or not, should be ignorant about such horrors and injustice. We need to fight it, and make sure that we ourselves take a lesson and never descend into such brutality.
By the time I finished the book the biggest question left was how Moazzam has managed to contain his anger and retain his humanity and compassion! I was only reading the account and I felt more angry and upset than him! This, perhaps, is one of the most important lessons from this book that reminds us of the true nature of the Muslim and how his character should be.