Thursday, June 9, 2016

In the skin of a Jihadist

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“Listen to me! I have loved you more than I’ve loved anyone.”
“You are my treasure, and Islamic State is your home.”

Melodie feels loved.She feels useful.She’s been looking for a purpose in life: now she’s found it.
What do we do, when random people, we never knew existed people, send us a subtle yet intentionally creepy ‘’Hi buddy!” texts on Facebook? We seenzone. Or, we reply back and indulge in an equally jobless series of conversations.But what happens when the person on the other side is the right hand man of one of the most sought out  terrorists in the world? And he offers you a seemingly delightful foreign trip to Syria? Oh, while offering to be your husband? Well.
‘’In the skin of a Jihadist’’, a true story of an investigative piece, penned under an anonymous journalist going by the name Anna Erelle is everything grey and nightmarish. Why did I pick this book? Because my curiosity and utter ignorance about how easy it is to recruit the youth into potential suicide did not agree to the synopsis of this book.
This book trails the story of Melodie, a character created by our journalist to trace the deepest recruitment networks on the net. She is a twenty year old convert Islam, watches clips of beheadings and ruthless murders on Youtube. And that is all it takes for Abu Bilel, later to be found out as the right hand man of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi to contact her on Facebook  and lure her to come into the land of heaven and god, Syria. Wait there, it gets more interesting. Not only is this random Melodie a recruitment opportunity, but she also qualifies to be his lover of sorts. 48 hours into bare communication, and he offers to marry her, have children with her, and be her man for life. This book is as harsh as it gets, because we witness a hypocritical insight into brutality, instability and the height of manipulation, a man in power can resort to to force an innocent soul into submission. The plot, it proceeds into stages of exploitation and at a certain point, you will wish to yell mercy and justice on the inflicted Melodie. The harsh explicit nature of the oppressor forms the crux of the story, but more grieving is the slow murder and exploitation of the oppressed which forms the saddening consequence of such actions. Not to ignore the effects which cloud the life of the journalist herself, for forging a character so volatile, naive, vulnerable to the core comes at a cost, schizophrenia and anxiety. It is an understanding of the sacrifices and the mental trauma endured by the investigator to delve within the lies and treachery.  The climax, well let's just say that it made me wish that the story wasn’t a real life incident.
This book is a must read for all those who wish to gain insight into the the dark and depressing world of a terrorist recruitment network. How being brainwashed into suicide and murder is as easy, when you are a youth looking in search of a definite identity. Most importantly, the cost of personal and professional vandalism the journalists pay to uncover the taboo and intricately dark world of terrorism.
In conclusion, I tell you of a guy who told me not to read this book because he was afraid that I would be brainwashed while reading a book about how others are brainwashed into terrorism. Well that’s a different story for another time. Till then, if you are up for the truth, get reading! :)
-Stuti Nabazza(
P.S An updated edition of the book also goes by the name, ‘’Undercover Jihadi Bride.”