Friday, May 29
Skyping with the enemy: I went undercover as a jihadi girlfriend
"It was 10 o’clock on a Friday night in spring 2014 and I was sitting on the sofa in my one-bed Paris apartment when I received a message from a French terrorist based in Syria: 'Salaam alaikum, sister. I see you watched my video. It’s gone viral – crazy! Are you Muslim? What do you think about mujahideen?' A journalist, I had been writing about European jihadis in Islamic State for about a year. I created a social media account, using the name Mélodie, to investigate why European teenagers were attracted to Islamic extremism. I spent hours scanning feeds filled with descriptions of gruesome plans. I had spent that night on my couch, flicking from account to account, when I came across a video of a French jihadi who looked about 35. He wore military fatigues and called himself Abu Bilel. He claimed to be in Syria. ..."