Several times in my reading of I Was Told To Come Alone I thought, “Souad Mekhen is going to be killed!” She meets with the Talban, ISIS leaders, and other very dangerous people. I could not do her job! Souad is relentless in the pursuit of an interview. This book tells her story growing up in Germany and Morocco. From the earliest years, she displays her fearlessness and independence. As Souad moves her way up the journalistic world, she takes increasing risks. Her imprisonment in Egypt was hair-raising! If you want to understand what’s happening in the shadow world of Jihad, this book explains everything. GRADE: A
Prologue: Meeting with ISIS Turkey, 2014 1
1. Stranger in a Strange Land Germany and Morocco, 1978-1993 7
2. The Hamburg Cell Germany, 1994-2003 33
3. A Country With a Divided Soul Iraq, 2003-4 58
4. A Call from Khaled el-Masri Germany & Algeria, 2004-6 84
5. Even If I Die Today or Tomorrow Lebannon, 2007 101
6. The Lost Boys of Zarqa Jordan, 2007 123
7. The Value of Life Algeria, 2008 143
8. Guns and Roses Pakistan, 2009 156
9. Mukhabarat Egpypt, 2011 170
10. This Is Not an Arab Spring Germany & Tunisia, 2011 192
11. Threats Bahrain, Iran & Germany, 2011-2013 208
12. Boys for the Caliphate Germany, 2013 230
13. Brides for the Caliphate Germany and France, 2014-15 243
14. The Search for an Islamist Beatle, or Finding Jihadi John Britain, 2014-15 261
15. Terror Comes Home Austria, France & Belgium, 2015-2016 285
Epilogue: The Deepest Cut Germany & Morocco, 2016 305
Notes 321
Acknowledgements 340
Index 343


      1. wolf

        And it’s been like this for hundreds (or really thousands …) of years!

        Five hundred years ago in Europe people were tortured and killed as heretics for having thw wrong variation of Christianity – like being a Catholic in Switzerland or being a Protestant in Bavaria.

        Often the lines were between neighbouring villages – one belonged maybe to a ruler who was for some reason a Protestant, the next a Catholic – this went on even after Napoleon dissolved all those little empires and gave them to the larger kingdoms.
        The small town that I grew up in was originally part of Austria (so Catholic) while the majority of the surrounding villages belonged to Württemberg (Protestant) so there was a funny story I was told by a neighbour:
        You could decide whether a woman was Protestant from village A or Catholic from village B if you asked her whether she had learned to swim as a child – the little lake belonged to the Protestant village and of course the Catholic priest did not allow “his” girls to go swimming with the heretics …
        And this even happened after WW2!
        I was not allowed to go to the same school as my friends and neighbours – they were Catholics and I was a Protestant – my father had come from North East germany and fell in love with a Catholic girl …
        Btw I was only baptised after the War – my parents had agreed that their children would have become Catholics if my father didn’t return from the war, the probability of which obviously was very high for a soldier.

  1. wolf

    This woman (btw of Turkish/Moroccan descent) is a very good example of how high one can rise as a migrant in Germany – we have many (but maybe not enough …) like her!
    Wiki has some info on her: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souad_Mekhennet

    I’ve seen some of her reports on German state tv.

    A bit OT:
    The German magazine ZEIT published her report on a night out in Istanbul where she went through the city’s restaurant and clubs, drinking wine and dancing to rock music accompanied and guided by the German-Turkish politician Cem Özdemir (almost a neighbour of mine …) and his two body guards (!).
    Cem is the head of the German Green party and a member of parliament …
    Those two people represent the other (i e liberal) side of Turkey …
    That was in 2001 – it seems since then Turkey has (like the USA under Trump …) gone several steps backwards.

      1. wolf

        Yes, George, sometimes I’m almost proud that life in Germany is now so “open” after all that happened until WW2 – seems we really learned something. Though of course not evrybody is happy, but we’ve come a long way.
        On other forums I’ve discussed my youth – in the 60s as a student we still had a very conservative regime against which we fought – successfully!
        The rise of the Green party shows that we were successfull in modernizing our society – integration of our “guest workers” and their children was an important part of that.

  2. Patti Abbott

    Was the world always such a fearsome place. I think so but surely there were more wondrous things to balance it.


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