Life is More Beautiful than Paradise

by Khaled al-Berry

‘The memoir reaches the core of how fanatics – sects of any kind – draw in conceited youngsters by essentially appealing to a naïve hunger for self-sacrifice.’

‘This is the autobiographical account of the author’s journey into extremism… [it] opens a window onto the mind of an extremist who turns out to be disarmingly like many other clever adolescents bears witness to a history with whose reverberations we continue to live. It serves as a guide for the reader to the movement’s debates and preoccupations, motives and intention.’
The Middle East

‘The book attempts to answer the big question: are Islamists true representatives of Islamic culture? In the author’s view they are not.’
Good Book Guide

In 1986, when this autobiography opens, the author is a typical fourteen-year-old boy in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Attracted at first by the image of a radical Islamist group as ‘strong Muslims,’ his involvement develops until he finds himself deeply committed to its beliefs and implicated in its activities. This ends when, as he leaves the university following a demonstration, he is arrested. Prison, a return to life on the outside, and attending Cairo University all lead to Khaled al-Berry’s eventual alienation from radical Islam.

KHALED AL BERRY was born in Sohag in Egypt in 1972. He has a degree in medicine from Cairo University and currently works as a journalist and writer in London, where he has lived since 1999.

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