Muslims have long played a major role in the Indian film industry. The industry has given us many iconic Muslim figures such as actor Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan, seen as the actor’s actor in Hindi cinema), actresses Madhubala (Mumtaz Jehan Dehalvi, for many the greatest beauty to grace Bollywood screens) and Waheeda Rehman (often in roles that cast her as a life- and love-tormented female before she was cast as that most quintessential of all Bollywood characters: the even more long-suffering ‘Ma’).

Out of It is an ingeniously plotted, lyrical novel, equally at home with email and ancient Umayyad verse, and attentive to the poetic resonance of the most mundane scenarios. Its existence is testament to the extraordinary resistance of the Palestinians to their planned annihilation.

Among the most travelled Hajj routes over the last five centuries are those between India and Mecca. The details in this poem are based on conversation with an Indian friend who described the Hajj his father and grandfather made in 1939.

In June 2011, Global Ikhwan established the Obedient Wives Club (OWC). The group promised sex lessons to help wives ‘serve their husbands better than…first-class prostitute[s]’ to protect marriages and curb social ills. Its vice-president, Dr Rohaya Mohamad, said a religious wife should also possess good sexual prowess and go beyond being a traditional ‘good wife or good cook’. But why were these sex lessons needed?

In the ‘Gardens of Peace’ cemetery in Ilford, the graves appear to have come off a production line. Rows of identical mounds of earth crowned with a simple stone slab stretch obediently as far as the eye can see. They resemble some kind of chant, or repeat binary code; they are like insistent questions to which you always get the same answer.

A few days before my eventual release, I put pen to paper for the last time within the walls of Evin Prison, and on a little torn-off piece of a Kleenex box, wrote an aphorism: ‘A philosopher puts himself in danger because of his thoughts; for his philosophy is like a tightrope on which he walks, with the world threatening deep below.’ My ideas had landed me in this prison. To get out I would have to convince my captors that I regretted having these thoughts. No other lifeline remained.

My silent question directed at the mute Sphinx was evoked by my recent visit to the Dachau concentration camp memorial site: Why did you fail to guard the entrance of our medical school in the years leading up to the Third Reich?