MY PERSONAL JIHAD de Souad Mekhennet

A book that will look at why young Muslim men and women who have grown up outside the Middle-East are rejecting their parents’ dreams of economic betterment and personal freedom in favor of radical rebellion in the Middle East

by Souad Mekhennet
Holt, March 2017 (Proposal available)
Editor: Paul Golob

Mekhennet, a German-born Moroccan Muslim, is a journalist with access to ISIS unlike many western journalists. Her goal is to guide Western readers through the complex world of global jihad, beginning with how the meaning of the word “jihad” has changed since her grandparents’ time. The word means “struggle” in Arabic, but it also connotes striving, as her parents and the parents of many others, did when they came to Europe in search of a better life. How has jihad’s seemingly progressive meaning been transformed, over the last 80 years, and especially since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, into one that sanctions the often-senseless killing of unbelievers and Muslims alike?
Part of the answer lies in the experience of Muslim immigrant children growing up in the seemingly progressive societies of Western Europe. Mekhennet will take readers into the restive immigrant enclaves of Germany, Britain, France, and elsewhere, and show them what the transformation from docile striver to rebel looks like up close. This is a largely untold story that holds keys to the future of global Islamic radicalism and valuable insights into how Western nations can best confront the challenges they face, both from within and from afar. It is all the more important as the threat of militancy draws ever closer, from the distant sandscapes of Syria to the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Souad Mekhennet, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Germany and grew up there and in Morocco. She is currently a correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk. Since 2001, she has reported on terrorism for Der Spiegel, ZDF, NPR, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Post and others. She is the only Western journalist who has gained access to the leadership circles of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS

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