Vidual or social psychopathy or any deep faults within Islam itself as contributory causesShe writes from a strong humanist and deeply practical viewpoint The world is not facing a clash of civilisation or cultures but a clash between those who want to build bridges and those who would rather see the world in polarities those who want to build bridges and those who would rather see the world in polarities idealism is based on responding to the people caught in the middle If I ve learned anything it s this a mother s screams over the body of her murdered child sound the same no matter if she is black brown or white Muslim Jewish or Christian Shia or Sunni A minor note of criticism is that Mekhennet is ill served by her book s sensationalist title while her supposedly greatest coup unmasking the identity of the British born Jihadist John beheader is the only dull part Fortunately the journalist s understandable but trivial obsession with breaking a news story rather than seeking a deeper understanding is otherwise secondary Souad Mekhennet s memoir of working to uncover and understand the agendas of global jihadists is one of the most important books of our time Her tenacity and resolve to follow the story where it leads rather than map the narrative and then supply the vidence she prefers illustrates why the world continues to need trained and dedicated journalists Mekhennet s deep knowledge both xperiential and academic as well as her insistence on treating all sources and ideas fairly and challenging them all too allows her to operate in an almost hallowed space able to access high level jihadi contacts while reporting her to operate in an almost hallowed space able to access high level jihadi contacts while reporting several of the world s most influential Western publicationsI have deep respect for the work Mekhennet does and for her perseverance as well I would also be remiss not to point out that she crafts a story here that is almost impossible to resist there are sections that Read like a an action thriller and other portions that share deep grief and make plain t a myriad of sufferingsAnyone interested in why they hate us whatever they you wonder about look here There are nuanced honest and important answers to be found and a barrage of insights to be illuminatedMy only regret is that I didn t know this book xisted until the other day It deserves the world s attention and certainly grabbed my own and wouldn t let go Simply a must read Souad Mekhennet s tenacity skill upbringing and cultural deftness combine to allow her to tell a nuanced story of how terrorism has volved since 911 than about anything lse out there But Love for Imperfect Things even importantly she does so by freshly illuminating her own path as a journalist andvolving identity as a Muslim in the West with openness kindness humor and candor that makes her story so compelling A genuinely human and A Heart of Stone evocative portrayal of problems some want to keep so foreign but in fact can only be solved when we get close and understand Guaranteed to make you think differently about the world. N returns to Europe first in London where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISISxecutioner Jihadi John and then in France Belgium and her native Germany where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines as she shares her transformative journey with us Hers is a story you will not soon forget. Really interesting well worth a
read Part memoir part account of the many people Souad Mekhennet has interviewed in her Part memoir part account of the many people Souad Mekhennet has interviewed in her The many people Souad Mekhennet has interviewed in her career The does suggest there s about an interview with someone in so called Islamic State than there actually is it s actually a tiny part of the book but that s a small uibble This gripping series of investigations across the Middle East is dramatic and authentic It is based on 13 years of intense ncounter with Jihadists and their supporters by a Muslim woman who is poised uneasily between worlds working mostly for the principled Washington Post The strength of Mekhennet s personal but neutral ngagement she seeks via face to face interviews to learn why and how various individuals became Jihadists gives great authority to her narrative style reportageThough she is profoundly opposed to Jihadist murders and aims Mekhennet writes with a sensitive German Muslim insider s feeling for what it is like to be an unwanted and alienated immigrant She is further conflicted because her father is a Turkish Sunni and her mother a Moroccan Shia and because she is a woman working in the male dominated world of Western journalism writing about Jihadist men who believe they are carrying out God s willMekhennet set off on this investigative journalist s path because she took deeply to heart the cry from the mother of a murdered American who wanted to know why do they hate us The whole book is Language and Linguistics essentially annveloping answer to this uestion taking us through hair raising meetings with ISIS al aeda and other Islamists plus the Egyptian and other security services across Ira Algeria Lebanon Jordan Pakistan Egypt Tunisia Bahrain Germany France and Belgium during 2003 2016 Along the way Mekhennet Divertimento establishes an uneasy butnduring set of professional relationships with figures on the dge of the Islamist world as well as a number of direct participants and some who direct and control the killersBut what really sets this remarkable testimony apart is the personal history and integrity of the author herself who gives a vivid picture of where and how she history and integrity of the author herself who gives a vivid picture of where and how she brought up in order I think to give full disclosure of just where she is coming from and how she is motivated Mekhennet s indomitable demanding Moroccan grand mother stands out as her guiding lodestar though she only knew her as a small child when she was sent to live with her grandmother for a few years in a poor part of Moroccan cityThe book reads like a thriller specially in the first half as the journalist who idolised Woodward and Bernstein after seeing All the President s Men pushes herself against the odds and at real risk to her life into the frontline of Islamist terror reporting She is very clear that Jihadists are led by false abusers of religion completely unjustified in Islamic terms and also making the lot of Muslims worse both inside their caliphate and in the West Eually she is fa. For her whole life Souad Mekhennet a reporter for the Washington Post who was born and Promise at Dawn educated in Germany has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing Muslim and Western She has also sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures which too often misunderstandach other In this compelling and vocative memoir we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad starting in the.
read I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of JihadR from losing sight of the ntrenched racism and prejudice in the West along with the corrupt cruelty of despotic Arab regimes which is what she thinks drives the Jihadists along with their sense of powerlessnessTreading this tightrope is not asy About halfway through the book she writes I began to be deeply worried that the way I was trying to do my job not taking any side but speaking to all sides and challenging them all whenever I could was becoming untenable for someone with my background Could this kind of impartial journalism about jihadists and the War on Terror be safely practised in the West only by someone whose parents were born and raised there rather than someone whose Muslim descent made her an object of special interest and suspicion These dark thoughts made me uestion the foundations and ultimate success of the West s supposed openness to outsiders and its commitment to West s supposed openness to outsiders and its commitment to of speech and thought This greater awareness raises Mekhennet s memoir to the level of a serious and original contribution to Western political culture and self xamination There is also much drama and ven humour such as when an Islamist leader proposes marriage to the author only half jokingly at the very moment when she fears being kidnapped in the backstreets of a desperate Palestinian refugee camp in
In the chapter we learn the affecting story of how the 16 year old son of Mekhennet s cousin in Germany is brain washed into joining Islamists in Syria unfolding in real time as Mekhennet tells it There is a terribly fresh reality to the torment of the boy s normal parents who fear their son s death as well as his utter alienation from them after a mere six months of becoming disaffected They are us Generally the writer sticks to the docu drama of what and who she ncountered inside zones of terror with detailed footnoting and does not peddle her views or interpretations indeed she could perhaps have given us analysis However in the last four pages Mekhennet does offer her overview of why they hate us Western hypocrisy with a series of invasive wars Darkmere extensive torture drone killings and pervasive prejudice against Muslims the lack of dialogue within Islam about what can and cannot be justified by our faith the feebleness of Imans and other Muslim leaders in not standing up clearly against intolerant and sexist Islamic practices the fuelling of sectarian conflict and hence Jihadism by both Western governments and Middle Eastern leaders for short term blinkerednds the uiet war between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the related shallow opportunism of those on all sides who seek Et si la maladie n'tait pas un hasard ? easy answers and don t bother to try to understand the other She also mentions the broken homes and petty criminal backgrounds from which many Jihadists come and the strong social bonds which they form withach other but Mekhennet steers well clear of suggestions of widespread indi. German neighborhoods where the 911 plotters were radicalized and the Irai neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another and culminating on the TurkishSyrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa she documents her chilling run ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise She the. .lebanon in the