Inside the Jihad: My Life with Al Qaeda
by Omar Nasiri
Published in January 2008
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Inside the Jihad is a heart pounding page turner. It is bullshit free, and a educationally valuable.
Omar Nasir was a Moroccan and Belgian arms dealer who got caught selling massive quantities of firearms and ammunition to Al Qaeda. In a desperate attempt to avoid prison, he instead decides to become an informant, and spends the next few years infiltrating the world’s most dangerous terrorist network.
The book is very well written. The writing steal is clear and simple. No words are wasted, and every chapter advances the central narrative. I constantly found myself wondering what would happen next and how Omar would deal with his increasingly impossible challenges.
At one point, Omar is crossing the border from Spain into Morocco with a car full of explosives. The following moments where Omar deals with the border guards is palpitating and tense. There were many very memorable moments like this.
This book also helped me understand the reasons why someone might join Al Qaeda and devote their lives to fighting the Jihad. As a political extremist myself, I strongly emphasized with the intense feelings experienced by the terrorists, and could see how, if my life had turned out differently, I might find myself ending up in a similar situation.
I have doubts about the authenticity of all of the events described in the book, but nevertheless learned a lot about radical Islam. This book has changed my perspective on Islam more than anything that I’ve read in a long time, and I now can see the incredible kinship, friendship, and family that Jihad provides.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone trying to understand Islamic terrorism
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