Socialist Review interviews Tariq Ali

An interview with Tariq Ali by Talat Ahmed for Socialist Review, November 2006

‘The history of the development of Islamic civilisation is one of adaption and intermingling. It is one of both influencing the non-Islamic world and being influenced by it.’ Tariq Ali challenges the myth that Islam is incompatible with the West in his four novels about the Muslim world and Europe. He discussed them with Talat Ahmed.

Since Jack Straw made his comments on the veil, politicians have been falling over themselves to demonise Muslims in Britain. Now university lecturers are expected to spy on “Asian-looking” students in order to spot potential terrorists, while parents are warned to be on the look out for “fundamentalist” tendencies among their children. Britain seems to be in the grip of an anti-Muslim hysteria that has been gathering pace for some time. Tariq Ali’s four novels on Islam and its relationship to Europe provide not only welcome relief but also an antidote.

“The politicians and media have created a dominant image of Islam that is one of bearded terrorists,” says Tariq. “Almost everywhere these days you can read nutty right wing novelists like Martin Amis talking about Islam as an ‘evil religion’. To fight against that is an uphill struggle.” read more