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on November 30, 2006
Inside the Jihad is a thrilling read from start to finish. Omar Nasiri didn't start out in the radical Islamic movement as a spy at all. He also didn't become a spy because he felt it was the right thing to do, he did it to save his life.

Omar's life wasn't normal for anyone, European or Arab. He was born in Morocco and when he was 5 his family moved to be with their father who had been working in Belgium for two years. However Omar had TB and was placed in a sanitarium. A sanitarium ran by Catholic nuns. Then at ten he went to live in a castle with 25 other foster boys. He did see his family rarely but he grew up westernized, having implications later on. The man who ran the castle, Edourd, took Omar under his wing. This included allowing Omar to shoot guns in the range provided he does his homework. However the one time he lied about completing his homework so he could shoot, Edourd found out, and said something to Omar he never forgot. Edourd said in anger that he would never amount to anything and Omar vowed to prove him wrong. He vowed to prove anyone wrong who ever underestimated him.

Omar then moved in with his family who by then returned to Morocco. He wasn't close to his family but then did something a good Muslim son shouldn't do. He stood up and assaulted his father after he gave one too many beatings to his mother. His mother then divorced and moved with the family back to Belgium. Omar stayed in Morocco.

Soon enough he was making money as the go-between for hashish dealers and the tourists. He learned the skills necessary to avoid arrest and spot buyers and sellers. These skills would eventually allow him entry to the camps.

After his brother brought him back to Belgium he soon learned that his mother's house was the hub for the GIA in Europe. This is where Al Ansar was published and spread around the world. He soon put his skills to use in obtaining bullets for the GIA members and soon enough was buying weapons, detonators, and even explosives. After discovering to his horror that the arsenals he was buying were being kept in his house he made a mistake that sent him into the arms of the DGSE (French Secret Service). After helping the DGSE he was almost sent to jail with the rest the GIA cell, but by his wits he managed to stay out of jail. By way of another mistake he also wanted out of Europe. Soon enough we was sent to Turkey, alone, to somehow find his way into Afghanistan. The DGSE had little hope of seeing Omar again. Omar would prove them wrong as well.

Before a flight to Pakistan, he used his skills to identify a Jihadist and made a connection that within weeks would allow Omar to enter the training camps.

Once at the camps the training was physically exhausting and thoroughly extensive. Weapons training involved pistols, surface to air missiles, tanks, explosives, mortars and everything in between. Everything was drilling into the trainee's heads. The scariest part was the do-it yourself explosives recipes and detonators. The manual Omar gave to MI5 taught the intelligence explosives "experts" a thing or two. When it came to religious instruction the splitting of hairs was absurd to the extreme. The Koran says you can't kill innocents. But let's say, for example, that that innocent was helping a crusader kill Muslims, fair game. Even if that innocent is a child PRAYS for his crusader father! This absurd contradiction is what kept Omar from falling into the lure of the brotherhood of the camps. The lure of the camps was so strong that Omar wanted to go to Chechnya to fulfill his "Jihad". Thankfully the terrorists saw that Omar's westernized behavior was perfect to send him to Europe. Then he was on his way to England. A trained killer, a Jihadist sent to kill and main innocents, but this Jihadist was "our" Jihadist, one whose knowledge would soon help send some of the top Al-Qaeda members to jail.

Omar spent two years in "Londonistan" and was mishandled by MI5. British intelligence was concerned with possible attacks in the UK. At that time London was the hub of Islamic Extremism with no part on MI5's part to do much of anything. Admittedly this did change but not for years. This allowed the extremists to meet, recruit, and plan attacks, but as long as the attacks weren't in the UK, no problem from a British intelligence perspective. In London Omar Nasiri became a go-between for messages from Al-Qaeda's top recruiter in Pakistan and the racial cleric, Abu Qatada. However he was soon told to forget about Abu Qatada and focus on the Finsbury Park mosque with its firebrand cleric, Abu Hamza. Abu Qatada was by far the more dangerous (and smart) but Abu Hamza was a "barking dog" (Omar's words) and was thought more of a threat. History would prove Omar was right as Abu Qatada is now in British prison awaiting extradition to Jordon where he was convicted in absentia of terrorist attacks. Omar also told MI5 of a big fish he saw with Abu Qatada named Ali Touchent, one of the most wanted men in France for masterminding attacks there. But British "intelligence" lost him in a café, months later a bomb tore though a Paris metro with all the hallmarks of Ali Touchent. His 2 years in London abruptly ended when a mistake from his past caught up to him.

Omar was then sent to Germany. He was then caught in political infighting within Germany's intelligence services. The Germans gave him a passport in his original name with no way of starting a new, safe, life. But he was also not given papers that would allow him to work legally. Omar was soon demoralized and fed up after months with little money and a wife to support so he quit. Omar currently works in dead-end jobs with little money to help his family.

He risked his life to write this book, but he did. He did it to help his fellow Muslims realize the dangers of extremism and to stop them becoming like us. Omar meant that if they fight like us they will become like us, and then there will be nothing left worth fighting for. That is his Jihad. He has no sympathies for us whatsoever.

Omar Nasiri has written a fast-paced book on the inner workings of Islamic Extremism and the intelligence services who *try* to stop them.

A book you can't put down!
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on May 2, 2007
Nasiri has definitely lived an amazing life as a spy for European anti-terrorism groups. He is also amazingly lucky. Everything seems to go his way, from being able to get into an Afghanistan jihadist camp by a chance encounter at an airport (after a pitstop in Pakistan). He blows his cover to two major people in the Islamic underground (and who happen to be later thrown in jail), but no one ever connects him to it (despite using their name to help him get close to some major people in the movement).

What strikes me the most about Nasiri is his own narcissism. He constantly argues with his handlers for not treating him with respect-by doing things such as asking too many questions. He gives out information that is very beneficial, but at the same time delivers a car bomb, but does not give out the name of the elderly man he gives it to because he is worried about his well-being. The car bomb kills people in Morocco and while Nasiri expresses guilt about the incident-he seems to miss the point that he could have stopped it from happening all along.

While I think Nasiri is telling the truth for the most part and his story is intriguing, in the back of my mind I keep on wondering how much of his story is true.

and I will leave with this one final thought. He talks about how when captured, a jihadist should always embellish the infomation to scare the opposition. He gives the example of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi giving false info about the Hussein-Al Qaeda connection. While Nasiri is not technically captured, he does feel that the West has captured the Muslim world and culture and has hurt it more then helped it. Nasiri might not be the best Muslim in the world, but it is what he believes and does want to defend it if it is attacked....could Nasiri be doing the same in his story?
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on March 14, 2007
This is not the strategic analysis of Jihad, not a religious text, but it is a great story about one man's life inside and outside of Jihad over the years. I found it exciting to read and actually felt the author's discomforts and risks.

If you are interested in learning a high level analysis of modern Jihad, militant Islam, read Imperial Hubris. This book partners well with that backdrop and steps inside the actual world of the training camps and breathes life into the personal struggles faced by many young Muslims.
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on November 17, 2012
Found this book to be interesting. However was surprised how he constantly harps on the fact that non-Muslims were "occupying" Islamic lands. He does not once mention that Muslims have throughout history aggressively captured lands and holy site from non-Muslims. He talks about how he went to the Haga Sophia in Turkey and mentions that the Ottomans did not destroy the frescoes of Christ- that they merely plastered over them. How would he react if this was a mosque that had been converted into a church?
Also he travels in Pakistan, and never once mentions that Pakistan was once "Hindustan" and that all of Pakistan was land that once belonged to the Hindus and has now been occupied by Muslims, and that the few Hindus who still live there live as second class citizens.
He complains about the number of Afghans and others who live in despair in refugee detention centers in Germany and Europe, at the mercy of arrogant Europeans. Not once does he question why they fled Islamic nations and prefer to settle in the Christian infidel West...
His hatred of Israel he does not hide. He however never talks about the fate of the Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Islamic and Arab nations.
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on January 16, 2016
Excellent book. I found it at my nephews Beech House. Each time I'd go there I'd read a bit more when time would allow. Finally ordered it because it was a very exciting read...and I don't normally like this kind of stuff. Exciting story, unfortunately it's based on a true story. Want to know how the Terrorist operate? Informing yet, scary.
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on December 31, 2006
A terrific book! Omar Nasiri(pseudonym) writes his personal story beginning with his youth selling drugs and then guns in Belgium. He is street-smart, bright and a proud Muslim. His gun/ammo sales are going to Islamic fundamentalists but Mr. Nasiri does it to make money. He sees that killing innocent people, often Muslims, in the name of Islam, is abhorrent. Through a twist of fate, he comes to work for French Intelligence who send him on an open-ended trip to the tribal areas of Pakistan and then into the terrorist training camps of Afghanistan. He thrives in the camps and feels great bonds of brotherhood while being trained as an an Islamic killer and working for the West. This is the unique perspective of this book--Mr. Nasiri is a Muslim at his core who describes a common feeling of Muslim humiliation ("we even have to buy Uzis from the Israelis") but who has nothing but contempt for Muslim extremists. Watching him be "handled" by English Intelligence would be comical if it wasn't so serious--it is like watching two Mid-Western farmers run a black agent in Harlem. Unfortunately, we are the farmers.

Mr. Nasiri appears to represent an understandable view-point of ordinary Muslims. This is a powerful thought.
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on July 6, 2011
This book does a great job explaining the view from the other side - instead of seeing a documentary by a filmmaker who lived with Al Qaeda for a short time, the author actually lived the life of a member of Al Qaeda, demonstrating the importance of human intelligence in the war on terror - and how some seemingly minor actions taken by western intelligence agencies can destroy that intelligence and understanding of terror groups.
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on May 6, 2010
This book was both disturbing and very interesting. The author was clearly dealt a bad hand however it appeared to me that he spent the entire book speaking from both sides of his mouth. He loves the freedoms and way of life in the West but hates the policies and tough things we have to do to keep those freedoms. He wants us to stay out the Muslim world and yet he scorns us for sitting back in instances like Algeria. He thinks anyone who interprets his religion differently than he does is wrong yet he smokes, drinks and feels killing Russians, Jews, etc is ok. In my opinion this book shows that radical extremist come in many forms, however they do share some things; they all hate anyone who shows any deviation from their particular way of thinking and they all feel killing is there duty, who they kill is the only variation. When I read the reviews it seems that others may not have found this book as controversial and eye opening as I do. This is not fiction, but rather an insight into the mind of people who feel it is their duty to kill anyone who believes in freedom.

Another thing that really struck me was the hate between groups and different factions of Muslims. The author describes innovators, conservative and peace loving groups of Muslims as worthy of death. He then continues on to say that everything would be fine if the West would just stay out of the way of the Muslims and allow them to be governed by theocracy.... What form of theocracy... if they feel it is a worthy jihad to kill other Muslims who see the Islamic religion different then they do then the killing would continue even in a theocracy (ie: The Taliban rule of Afghanistan). If the West stepped aside there would still be widespread killing and probable genocide by these savage radical extremist.

I do recommend this book. It helped me understand that this war will never be over because as Americans we will never give up all of our freedoms and liberties. As long as we continue to enjoy the fruits of our labor extremist will continue to hate us and plot to kill us. Our ability to accept people as different then us, our ability to allow religious freedom, our desire to help the oppressed throughout the world and our need to defend our interest will always put us at odds with these awful factions of an otherwise peaceful religion/people.
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on January 3, 2007
This is an excellent book that really draws you into it. Its one of the few books that I find that are hard to set down. It really helps you see into the mind of Jihadist and understand where they are coming from. The author is frank and honest which helps you see his motives even though they are usually selfish. The only thing I would debate is that he seemed more of an informant than a spy. I highly recommend this book.
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VINE VOICEon July 12, 2007
In "Inside The Jihad" author Omar Nasiri (not his real name) spins a very readable narrative about his life as a spy for the British and French intelligence services, including a year-long tour in a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

I was struck by the readability and clear understanding of the complex issues that surround the recruiting of terrorists and the real boots-on-the-ground, day to day life and training in the terrorist camps. Much different of course, than the prospective of Western outsiders looking in, even the very experienced ones like Bob Bair (23 years Middle East, CIA operative).

The readability of this book deserves special note. Even serious readers of the subject struggle with retaining the alphabet-twisting, dash-filled names common in the Middle East. But Nasiri helps with this by outlining each major character and his association with them, plus, re-outling in a separate section who they are. I found myself only having to refer to this outline on one occasion, a credit to the author's clear foundation of the characters the first time.

Nasiri reinforces two major facts known to serious students of the subject, but unknown to most citizens and, of course, the Main Stream Media who are basically both lazy and clueless: 1. Most terrorists are not downtrodden, slum dwelling thugs, but rather middle class, college educated individuals who are not dumb. 2. The CIA procedures, directed by the Left-leaning Administration during the '90's of not even contacting informants who are bad guys, left our intelligence forces grossly under-informed during that critical decade. Informers inform for many different reasons, many times far too complex to clearly understand, but that doesn't mean the information does not have value.

The reader caught drifts of self-serving narrative in the book, but this is common in books of this type and can be accepted or rejected as you see fit.

In both style and content, I found this book a solid 5-star effort and well worth the reader's time.
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