Avaes Mohammad draws parallels between Muslim extremism and white fascism through his writing. Only those in literary circles knew of playwright and poet Avaes Mohammad until this month. But after two of his plays about Muslim terrorism and white, working class fascism were staged in London, his name has been on everyone’s lips.

The Lancashire-born writer, who has a science doctorate, has been featured in the national press following the showing of Hurling Rubble At The Sun and Hurling Rubble At The Moon. Both plays are set around the 7/7 bombings with one looking at a radicalised young Muslim, and the other, a young white man who gets caught up in racist violence and the BNP.

So controversial were the plays that despite approaching several theatres, only the Park Theatre in London was up for it. According to director Rod Dixon, “I really admire them for having the courage to do it because I don’t think the other theatres did.”

The plays received mixed reviews some “totally got it” while others didn’t. But the object of the exercise was achieved. It got people talking and thinking about the issues affecting both “sides of the street” as the writer puts it.

Recently, visiting his parents, Avaes said: “My point was to tell the story of both protagonists in a human light. Taking away all the hysteria about influences and showing them as young men. One reviewer said that the Muslim protagonist was neither angry nor religious enough to be believable as a bomber, but that was the point. It’s how these people are handled or failed by the state that makes them the way they are.”

The point he makes is that any young person struggling with their identity is made to feel like an outsider within British society. That may also make them vulnerable targets for radicalisation, whether it’s by ISIS or the EDL.

Avaes, 36, did much of his research in Luton where the EDL was born and where the militant Muslim group Muhajirun is active.

“I was interested in using the setting of Blackburn because it’s where I grew up. I visit my parents monthly, but it’s not the same as living here. It was really divided in the late 90s. It still is. I do a lot of work in the communities, but some young people tell me it’s not as bad as it used to be. I’d like to think that my plays will be shown in Blackburn one day.”

Avaes was born and raised in Whalley Range to a mum and dad who both worked in the care of the disabled. He always felt that segregation in the town was an issue, and that’s something his parents tried to overcome.

“My parents were quite wise and sent me to an all-white primary school in Lammack, so from a very young age, I was quite comfortable in both worlds.

“But later on, growing up, the segregation issue really bothered me. It wasn’t comfortable living in Blackburn. It just felt strange. It was something nobody ever talked about and it was sad.”

So he left at 18 and went to Manchester University to study science, and suddenly the segregation issue had gone.

“I had a great time there. But just at the end of my degree, in between doing my Bachelors and Phd, the Burnley riots happened and 9/11, and in Manchester it became an issue. Suddenly being Asian and Muslim was being talked about, potentially negatively. The thing I’d tried to get way from in Blackburn came up all over the world.”Most people would have resigned themselves to the negativity or fought against it, but Avaes decided to put his thoughts into writing. Somebody had to speak out.

“I kind of felt that I had to write. It became obvious to me that the community that I came from hadn’t been represented and the first time it was, it was through the lens of the riots or 9/11. Until then nobody ever talked about us in art or media, then we were talked about as rioters and terrorists which was really sad. So I wanted to do something in a positive way. I started writing poetry and plays as a direct result of what happened that summer.”

When he finished his doctorate Avaes tried working as a scientist and writing in his spare time. “But it did my head in. So I chose writing.”

Lack of social inclusion in British society is responsible for radicalisation on both sides, according to Avaes. “Why young people are attracted to Muslim radicalisation or the far right has a lot to do with how much they feel they have a stake in mainstream British society. Our society can fail these people in giving them a sense of culture, identity and, ultimately, worth and they will look elsewhere to find that feeling of worth.

“That’s natural and normal and has happened in every generation. It’s the reason why people joined the Hitler movement, or became Communists. It’s no coincidence that these young people are going to Syria or to London. They’re all in their late teens and early twenties, a classic age of trying to find who you are and your way in life. When David Cameron or Tony Blair made comments about Muslims stamping out radicalism in their own backyard, what he’s saying is that it’s not a British problem. But these people were born and raised here. So the country has a responsibility.

“When young people are born and raised here, but they don’t feel British, it’s a problem. So when ISIS says they want them, it’s a sense of belonging. It would be interesting to see what the reality is when they get there.”

For every Muslim who talks about lack of acceptance in this country there’s a white person criticising them for lack of integration. Avaes believes both sides need to work together.

“Integration is a two-way street. In Blackburn you have this thing that when Asian people move in, white neighbours move out and that was definitely prevalent in the working class neighbourhoods when we were growing up. But now people of my generation are moving to the more affluent suburbs of Blackburn and the same thing is happening. My mates are doctors moving into these areas and seeing the ‘for sale’ signs going up.

“Integration has to happen, All communities need to make an effort and engage with each other. My family does that and I’ve always been encouraged to do that. All the onus can’t be put on the Asian community.”

But he needs to take that message to a bigger audience – and has contemplated writing a book. He’s been commissioned to write a British film about the liquid terror bomb plot. He’s also working with the think tank British Futures looking at the role of Indian Muslims in the First World War. Avaes Mohammad may not be known to many yet, but he surely will be in the future.

By Diane Cooke.