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Life Is More Beautiful Than Paradise

Life Is More Beautiful Than Paradise

Issue 63 December 2009

by Huda Chaudhry

As a teenager Khaled al-Berry belonged to the radical Egyptian Islamist group, el-Gama’a el-Islamiya. His autobiography, set in 1986, tells how as a 14-year-old boy in Asyut in Upper Egypt, he was initially attracted by the group, among whom he had hoped to find direction, companionship and a sense of belonging. The book tracks how Al-Berry growing up, and how he discovered a wider world beyond becoming one of the ‘brothers’.
Al-Berry was arrested following a demonstration. His subsequent imprisonment helped him arrive at the certainty that “life is more beautiful than paradise and that the human soul dangles from the beak of the bird of freedom”. Upon Al-Berry’s return to life on the outside, his attendance at Cairo University lead alienation from radical Islam.
‘Life Is More Beautiful Than Paradise’ is well written and deals with why young Muslims attracted to extremism, and reflects the paradoxical nature of Egyptian life side by side with fundamentalism.
Al-Berry explains thoroughly what he went through and how he came
out of it.
Available from Haus Publishing, 30th November.

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