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20 August 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:14am

Britain’s most influential Muslim?

The Indie’s fascinating interview with Tim Winter.

By Mehdi Hasan

I’ve long considered Tim Winter — aka Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad — to be one of Britain’s most interesting Muslims, but I hadn’t realised that he had been named as the country’s most influential Muslim (ahead of Baroness Warsi, Tory party chair and member of the cabinet, and the UK’s first Muslim life peer, Lord (Nazir) Ahmed).

Winter — the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, goateed Cambridge academic and elder brother of the Telegraph’s Henry Winter — is interviewed in today’s Independent, and the whole piece is worth a read.

Here he is, commenting on the radicalisation of some young Muslim men:

The principal reason, which Whitehall cannot admit, is that people are incensed by foreign policy. Iraq is a smoking ruin in the Iranian orbit. Those who are from a Muslim background are disgusted by the hypocrisy. It was never about WMDs. It was about oil, about Israel and evangelical Christianity in the White House. That makes people incandescent with anger. What is required first of all is an act of public contrition. Tony Blair must go down on his knees and admit he has been responsible for almost unimaginable human suffering and despair.

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And here he is on his relationship with his brother, the high-profile sports journo:

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The son of an architect and an artist, he attended the elite Westminster School in the 1970s before graduating from Cambridge with a double First in Arabic in 1983. His younger brother is the football correspondent Henry Winter. Tim says: “I was always the clever, successful one. Henry just wanted to play football with his mates. I used to tell him, ‘I’m going to make loads of money, and you’ll still be playing football with your mates.’ Now he’s living in a house with ten bedrooms and married to a Bond girl.” (Brother Henry insists on the telephone later: “She was only in the opening credits. And it’s not as many as ten.”)

As I said, the whole interview is worth a read — if only to discover why Winter attributes his conversion to Islam to “a teenage French Jewish nudist”.

Enjoy!