Souad Mekhennet: her experience on the other side of jihad

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Citizens' Europe

“I was told to come alone. I was not to carry any identification, and would have to leave my cell phone, audio recorder, watch, and purse at my hotel…”

This is what European Young Leader, Washington Post correspondent Souad Mekhennet writes in her newly published memoir ‘I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad’.

Her book, named a Best Summer Book of 2017 by Publishers Weekly and bestseller in Amazon only days after its publication, is a unique journey behind the lines of jihad, from German suburbs to some of the world’s most dangerous crisis zones. Reflecting on her personal experiences, Mekhennet writes on radicalisation and seeks to find the answers from members of groups such as ISIS and the Taliban – from people who normally never agree to be interviewed by a Western journalist. The result is a story which is difficult to forget.

Souad Mekhennet has previously published five books in collaboration with other authors.

Watch an interview with Souad Mekhennet on CBS News and read a review of her book by the New Yorker.


Led by Friends of Europe, each year the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme brings together talented, established leaders, aged 40 and under, who have made their mark in a wide range of fields such as politics, science, business, media, NGOs, the arts and civil society.  You can find more information about the programme in the EYL40 overview.

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