Author of Inside Al Qaeda, Mohamed Sifaoui is an Algerian-born journalist who by fluke in the spring of 1996 survived a bomb attack in Algiers that killed his friends and colleagues--as well as 30 passers by. Since then, Sifaoui has worked against the terrorist ideology of extremist Islamism wherever the opportunity presented itself.
One highly unusual and dangerous opportunity came in the autumn of 2002. While covering a terrorist trial Sifaoui made the acquaintance of an active member of an Al Qaeda cell in Paris and, by passing himself off as a pro-fundamentalist journalist, managed to gain his trust. Eventually Sifaoui was invited to London to be entrusted with a position of real responsibility playing a coordinating role between the different terrorist cells in Europe and it is here that his undercover investigations and the book comes to an end.
This very short book is the diary of the three months he spent undercover from October 2002 to January 2003. There's no doubt that during this time the author was putting his life on the line and--given that he recently wrote an anti-fundamentalist book with his face plastered over the back cover--it is his ingenuity and audacity that provides the real hook. This is a detective story where nothing much happens, but the depiction of the everyday activities of these people--daily prayers, endless talk of jihad, religion, fundamentalist ideology, collecting money for prisoner support, the deep yearning for martyrdom and the unwavering solidarity of the "brotherhood" that creates a lasting impression