The many ways British Muslims use the internet

Hussein Kesvani is a journalist and author whose new book ‘Follow Me, Akhi’ explores the way the internet is changing the lives of British Muslims. Drawing on extensive interviews the book injects much-needed nuance into a narrative that too often focuses on the internet as a tool for Islamist radicalization

The World Today Published 26 July 2019 Updated 6 November 2020 3 minute READ

What drove you to write this book?

There were two main motivations. The first was my experience as a religion reporter back in 2015. At the time young British Muslims were going to fight in Syria, and there were questions about what their motivations were. Some commentators saw this as an institutional question, to do with radicalization in mosques, whereas others saw this as a problem of the internet, where individuals were recruited by extremist groups online with no connection to their offline communities. I saw both of these arguments as very reductive ways of explaining why these young people were going abroad, while also revealing a misunderstanding of religious identity itself. For me, growing up in a post-7/7 world in a part of Kent where there were few Muslim families, it was natural to express religious identity through social media. The internet provided an experience that I couldn’t get in the material world.

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