Fundamental error

Burhan Wazir's self-contradictory polemic ("The Talibanising of Britain proceeds", 11 February) respectfully regurgitates stereotypes associated with "Islamic fundamentalism". For example, Wazir claims that this phenomenon is a result of alienation among the disaffected.

After objectively investigating al-Muhajiroun, I have found it to be coherent and rational, if radical; and its members intelligent and articulate, if passionate. They are high in self-esteem, and sociable. Its composition includes lawyers, doctors and IT specialists, not just Wazir's "abandoned". And (shock, horror) I found that not all had "wild and unkempt", waist-length beards or were uniformed as Goths. Its women are as ardent as its men: it may have been Wazir's dashing good looks that dazzled the "banished", "silent", "expressionless" (but strangely "blushing") woman, for they are renowned for their debating and speeches.

I have found that al-Muhajiroun does not call for the murder of Americans, Christians or even Jews, but directs its anger at hypocrisy, oppression and injustice, just as many New Statesman readers may recollect doing in the 1960s, before opting for capitalism.

M R Choudhary
Newcastle upon Tyne

This article first appeared in the 25 February 2002 issue of the New Statesman, The unusual suspects