Terrorists in Love

Terrorists in Love

The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals

Book - 2011
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Imagine a world where a boy's dreams dictate the behavior of warriors in battle; where a young couple's only release from forbidden love is death; where religious extremism, blind hatred, and endemic corruption combine to form a lethal ideology that can hijack a man's life forever. This is the world of Terrorists in Love.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2011.
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451609219
Characteristics: xvi, 313 p. ; 24 cm.

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mswrite
Nov 03, 2014

This is a fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking book. It offers explanations I'd never before considered as to what truly drives young Middle Eastern men (and women, but especially young men) to dedicate their lives to the violence of Islamic terrorism.

Author Ken Ballen presents here the stories of six former jihadis--as they preferred to be called--using as his narrative the florid language of their religious and cultural upbringing and worldview. He gains their trust, and they tell him things about themselves they could never share with their own countrymen-- especially those like Kamal, the highly intelligent and university educated gay man who tells his poignant story in the final chapter. Kamal's insistence on learning and sharing with his fellow countrymen the true meaning of the Koran gives Ballen hope for the future.

In the process we learn how much lack of knowledge of, and access to education about, the larger world around them; the breakdown of family ties and traditions; adolescent insecurities; repressed sexual and romantic longing; chronic joblessness; and even sheer boredom combine to make Arab teens and twenty-somethings easy marks for cynical and ruthless adults eager to use them as tools in an endless "holy war" against the United States, the convenient scapegoat for the corruption, greed, hypocrisies, shifting loyalties, and political upheavals within their insular and complex societies.

A compelling, urgently important account of a little understood world; one can only wish all of the western Powers-That-Be were taking note.

s
Schwarcz_Faby
Aug 19, 2012

I enjoyed learning about the diverse motivations of Muslim extremists, but the prose was a bit clunky.

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