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Inside the Jihad

I have nearly finished an amazing book, “Inside the Jihad,” by Omar Naisiri (pen name). He is a Moroccan-born Belgian citizen who worked for the French and British secret services as a spy in terrorist rings during the 1990’s.

The book tells the amazing story of his life, how he got involved in a terrorist group and turned off by its extremism, and so turned double agent. He shares his struggles with his faith as a Muslim and sympathy for the terrorist cause with his Western upbringing and aversion to the extremes to which his colleagues would go.

One of the things that impresses me is their passion for the purity of their faith, as they understand it. I found myself comparing their view of God and His holiness with ours, their faithfulness to spiritual disciplines and living a spiritual life with ours.

Their view is very legalistic, yet the sincerity of their devotion is without question and admirable. If sincerity were a mark of salvation, we would do well to follow their example. However, there is no relationship with Allah—they would find that idea ‘ta-hout’ or of Satan. Our concept of freedom in Christ is not only completely foreign, but licentious and blasphemous. Innovation and progress are to be avoided.

Nasiri shares why they are so angry, and the reasons are manifold and complex. They view many of the governments of Islamic countries as being puppets of the West, when they should be subservient only to Allah. Secular governments are tahout. They are angry and ashamed that they are forced to fight against the West with weapons made by the West, and in particular hate the Uzi because it is Israeli. They see Jerusalem as a holy site that belongs to Islam alone, because it is the only true religion. They hate the ‘corrupting influence’ of the West that draws their people into temptation away from pure Islam, and so on. Sometimes the reasons seem almost circular, and he doesn’t always explain why they feel the way they do, so some things seem very illogical.

He explains that the concept of the individual and freedom of thought are fairly rare. It can be both a very egalitarian society and yet authoritarian. The sophistication and thoroughness of the training in the camps is truly astounding.

If you have any interest in understanding the terrorist situation, Islamic culture, and the roots of 9/11, I strongly recommend this book. It is graphic and coarse in places, yet he tells a richly detailed story that will keep you riveted. His moxy is inspiring and evidence of God’s hand in His life is evident. I suspect the Lord may have plans for this man. Read his book and pray for him.


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