Excerpt:

Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam.
By Innes Bowen.Hurst; 288 pages; £16.99.
To be published in America in September; $30.
Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

News reports about Britain's Muslims are bewildering, even for those who follow them closely and with an open mind. A leading policewoman has just predicted that British-born jihadis returning from Syria will pose a lethal security threat for "many, many, many years". They are Sunni extremists who have been fighting President Bashar al-Assad, so in other words are at one end of a coalition that Britain has supported. But they are now deemed more menacing than Mr Assad.

Meanwhile in Birmingham, inspectors have swooped on local schools and in several cases switched their reports from "outstanding" to severely deficient, partly on the grounds that children were exposed to extremism. This change of line has left Muslim parents defensive and non-Muslim ones terrified.


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