Growing up in a working-class area full of back-to-back terrace houses in a northern English town in the 1990s, I remember a time when my elderly non-Muslim English neighbours would tell my father how seeing young Muslims walking to the local mosque several times a day made them feel safe.

These were elderly English people who mainly lived alone at a time when our newspapers were full of stories about ‘hoodies’ behaving anti-social.

Our neighbours had lived their entire lives in these homes and probably witnessed the change in the demography of our area with the arrival of Indian and Pakistani Muslims in the 1950s and 1960s to take up jobs in Lancashire’s mills.

For me and many others racism is a lived reality. Hearing these comments about well-behaved young Muslims going to and from our local mosque gave us hope and was reassuring. Little did we know that things would radically change and this is what happened after 9/11, and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ and media frenzy on Muslims.

I remember a few days after the New York attack speaking to a friendly Irishman who told me how Muslims are the new Irish. The gravity of what he was saying did not at the time sink in. In hindsight, he was right. The last 20 years has been a rollercoaster with a free-for-all when it comes to Muslims.

It is thought that what is taking place was foreseen several years before. Writing in a 1993 edition of Foreign Affairs at the end of the Cold War, the US political scientist Samuel Huntington said that future wars would not be between countries, but between cultures and that a new conflict between Islam and the West was in the making.

The atrocities of 9/11, though carried out by individuals, lent weight to this theory. It was framed as an Us Vs.  Them scenario used to justify political and media hysteria about Islam on a global scale.

According to journalist Peter Oborne, everything is not what it seems. In The Fate of Abraham, Oborne unpicks narratives about Muslims and asks us to question sources and separate truth from lies.

Spread over five chapters, Oborne deals with the history of the animosity in relations between the West and Islam, providing a fascinating overview of the American, British and French relationship with Islam and Muslims that goes back as far as the Crusades.

He shows how each country dealt with the faith and it is this analysis that forms the foundation for chapter four which could be considered the heart of the book.

Chapter four focuses on the contemporary relationship between the British media, the government, Islam and Muslims. There are several topics relating to Muslims that have been hotly discussed in recent years in the British public space. Oborne provides an alternative analysis on these hot potatoes, including the Trojan Horse plot and how he says it never existed.

He explains how the Muslim Grooming Gangs narrative was created by think tanks, the Conservative Party and the media. He also tells us how British policymakers looked to the Cold World to cancel senior British Muslims out of the public sphere, echoing the US McCarthyism from the 1950s.

The most intriguing parts of this chapter, however, are the sections showing the influence of the neo-conservative think tank Policy Exchange on the Conservative party and the Tory’s relationship with British Islam, specifically the dynamics between Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Michael Gove.

It took Oborne 20 years to write this book. His impetus for writing it is how he saw Muslim communities described by journalists after 9/11 and 7/7. He saw journalists and the media in a frenzy to churn out anti-Muslim stories that were untrue in “a sustained, calculated assault on a minority.”

Bigotry was not just a phenomenon of the tabloid press but sanctioned in highbrow circles and “in the view of many mainstream British politicians, newspaper editors and writers” justified. It was this that led him to question how Muslims were being treated and in search for answers he wrote this book.

Oborne is a veteran lobby journalist who once travelled with the press parties that accompany prime ministers on foreign trips. He is an award-winning writer and author who has worked for true blue British publications such as The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph The Spectator (where he was political correspondent during Boris Johnson’s editorship).

Educated in public schools, a member of the Church of England and with family ties with the British army going back several generations, Oborne is someone cut from the fabric of the British establishment. For him to go against the grain in calling out foul play in how Muslims are demonised is not only admirable, but courageous and indicative of a passion to ascertain the truth.

Muslims are an unpopular bunch and mostly misrepresented. We are the new Irish. However, reading The Fate of Abraham gives hope that there are decent people out there and perhaps one day we will see the mistrust ending, harkening back to the way we were with our elderly English neighbours before 9/11.

The Fate of Abraham – Why the West is Wrong about Islam by Peter Oborne