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The Battle for British Islam

BFBI cover


“This is an important book full of compelling, disturbing and inspirational material, required reading to understand what is happening in our midst and what we can do about it.”  – Justin Marozzi, Sunday Times

 ‘Sara Khan is a fearless and principled voice in the struggle for the soul of Islam. Everyone who cares about combatting prejudice should read her, befriend her and fight alongside her.’ —Nick Cohen


‘A fascinating book [by] one of the UK’s most influential counter-extremism voices’
Dermot Murnaghan, Sky News


‘An impressive book … [This] book deftly examines the roots and growth of Muslim extremism in the UK and would have been invaluable for that alone. But it stands for something more. It is a powerful cri de coeur. British society, Khan urges, must stand with reforming Muslims otherwise “extremists are the ones who will be left to define British Islam”.’
Times Literary Supplement


“Sara Khan calls her short, fact-packed book “a call for reason and hope.” It is a wake up call….Those who care about building and maintaining a peaceful plural society should read her book, and be prepared to fight alongside her.”  New Humanist Magazine


‘Vital … a clear-eyed denunciation of Salafist Islam … a hugely well-informed intellectual and political journey.’ Tribune


‘[The Battle for British Islam] deserves a wide readership Francis Wheen, Mail on Sunday


“The political space occupied by activists and campaigners like Sara Khan is vanishingly narrow. But it is upon the shoulders of activists like her that Gilles Kepel placed the hopes of a liberal counter-insurgency back in 2004: It is “these young men and women” he wrote, “[who] will present a new face of Islam – reconciled with modernity – to the larger world.  Khan offers a work of admirable frankness, determination, and moral clarity.” – Quillette


“If there ever is an Islamic enlightenment, it may be generations away. Until then some path to coexistence must be found, Khan presents a hopeful but realistic look at what some of this might look like.” – National Secular Society


“Sara Khan’s authoritative analysis of British Islam draws on many case studies and provides a roll-call of Salafi-Islamist bigwigs along with a detailed record of their networks, activities and claims. Her book is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to get to grips with the complex and shifting relationships shaping British Islam today. Khan concludes that diktats from Whitehall will not defeat extremism. Her book is a rallying call for a revitalised ground-level civil society movement stripped of bogus identity politics, persecution myths and double standards.” – Conatus News


‘Khan’s book is an eloquent and necessary exposition of the state we’re currently in, and a plea for understanding and unity in the fight against extremism whether it’s the far-right or Islamism which is against our interests, and should be alien to socialism done properly. It is essential reading for feminists and lefties. Morning Star


‘Thoughtful and detailed … the perfect introduction to those who engage with British Islam, extremist or not, and who want a roadmap. A must read … This is a courageous book which gives the reader the tools to identify competing voices for the British Muslim identity.’ —Crest



Across Britain, Muslims are caught up in a battle over the very nature of their faith. And extremists appear to be gaining the upper hand. Sara Khan has spent the past decade campaigning for tolerance and equal rights within Muslim communities, and is now engaged in a new struggle for justice and understanding – the urgent need to counter Islamist-inspired extremism.

In this timely and courageous book, Khan shows how previously antagonistic groups of fundamentalist Muslims have joined forces, creating pressures that British society has never before encountered. What is more, identity politics and the attitudes of both the far Right and ultra-Left have combined to give the Islamists ever-increasing power to spread their message.

Unafraid to tackle some of the pressing issues of our time, Sara Khan addresses the question of how to break the cycle of extremism without alienating British Muslims. She calls for all Britons to reject divisive ideologies and introduces us to those individuals who are striving to build a safer future.


The Battle for British Islam was published by Saqi Books in September 2016.  It is available from Foyles, Waterstones and Amazon.


Latest news:

Sara launched her book alongside co-author Tony McMahon at Waterstones Picadilly on the 7th September.  The evening was a great success with tickets and books all sold out.  You can watch the full launch discussion here.

Sara spoke at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016.  You can read the write up here.

She also spoke at Cheltenham Literature Festival and a sold out event at Ilkley Literature Festival. In November 2016 Sara also spoke at Bristol’s Festival of Ideas, Hull Literature Festival, Cambridge Literature Festival, Bradford university, and other events across the country.



Sara’s book has received coverage in the Times, The Sunday Times, BBC HardTalk, LBC, TalkRadio, BBC World Service, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 2, Sky News Murnaghan, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 5 Live, TalkRadio amongst others.

The Sunday Times review is available to read here (£).


More updates to follow.