In the Skin of a Jihadist
A Young Journalist Enters the ISIS Recruitment Network
On Sale: May 26, 2015
Paperback / e-Book
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Non-Fiction Memoir | Non-Fiction
A young French journalist’s riveting and unprecedented look
at how today’s most ruthless terrorists use social media and
technology to reach disaffected youth—witnessed through the
undercover investigation that led to her deep involvement
with a key member of ISIS.
On Facebook, “Melodie”—a
twenty-year-old-convert to Islam living with her mother and
sister in Toulouse—meets Bilel, a French-born, high-ranking
militant for the Islamic State in Syria. Within days, Bilel
falls in love with Melodie, Skypes her repeatedly, and
adamantly urges her to come to Syria, marry him, and do
jihad. The honey-tongued suitor promises the innocent,
fatherless young girl a life of material comfort and
But “Melodie” is actually
Anna Erelle, a Parisian based journalist investigating the
recruitment channels of the Islamic state, whose digital
propaganda—Jihad 2.0—constitutes one of its most formidable
and frightening weapons, successfully mobilizing increasing
numbers of young Europeans.
In this taut and riveting
true story, Erelle chronicles her intense, month-long
relationship with Bilel—who turns out to be none other than
the right hand man of Abou Bakr al-Baghadi, the
self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS. Impatient for Melodie to
join him, Bilel tells her that, according to an imam, they
are already all but married, and will be officially when she
arrives in Syria. As she embarks on the final, most
dangerous stage of her investigation, Melodie leaves for
Amsterdam to begin her journey to the Middle East. But
things go terribly wrong.
A gripping and often
harrowing inquiry into the factors that motivate young
people to join extremist causes, and a shocking exploration
of how technology and social media are spreading
radicalism, The Mind of a Jihadist is a
riveting page-turner that helps us better understand the
appeal of extremism—and how an Islamic militant attempts to
brainwash, seduce, and manipulate a vulnerable young woman.
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