This book focuses on the Muslim communities within Bradford with the aim of providing a more informed view into British Muslim communities than that found within popular discourse. At the same time Lewis charts the increasing engagement between these communities and the local and national state whilst being more attentive to the specifics of religious and ethnic traditions than other contemporary works.
In the 'Postscript' added to the second edition of this book he argues that South Asian heritage Muslim leaderships and institutions have failed in the task of transmitting Islam in a contextually relevant way. As a result, they have opened up possibilities for ‘radical’ movements. In part, such failures can be explained by the weak social capital of some South Asian Muslim heritage communities, that is, the way in which ‘underdeveloped’ contexts of emigration continue to have consequences of ‘underdevelopment’ in the UK. However, Lewis also points to a dispersed (as opposed to centralised) structure of religious authority in Islam that would seem to allow for marginal ‘radical’ figures to capture the centre of attention, not least under conditions of globalisation.