WASHINGTON - Washington Post correspondent Souad Mekhennet has published a chronicle of the time she spent documenting extremist organizations.
Mekhennet said “I Was Told to Come Alone” is an important read to understand how Jihadists think and feel.
“Nobody was born like this. Some circumstances in their lives led them to the arms of recruiters,” she explained.
Mekhennet reported that anyone who does not subscribe to their ideology is seen as an enemy, regardless of religion.
“They believe that they are absolutely in the right,” she said.
Mekhennet discussed the difficulty with which she met individuals who have authority within extremist organizations. Given that they knew she was a journalist, they requested that Mekhennet would come alone and bring no form of identification or recording device with her.
The ISIS commander with whom she spoke with grew up in Europe and spoke many languages, but Mekhennet said he felt ostracized by society because of his Muslim identity.
She explained that he was accepted into circles that made him feel more comfortable and recruiters for Al Qaeda and ISIS were a part of the circles.
Mekhennet ultimately learned, “this is not a fight between religions. This is not a clash of civilizations. It’s a fight between people who want to build bridges and those who don’t want to build bridges and destroy society.”