The movie is anticipated to have a big opening at the box office, even with its "A" certificate and more than three hours of running time.
This is the story of a 20-year-old French girl’s dare devilry in unravelling the goings on inside Islamic State’s recruitment networks. Anna Erelle’s book — IN THE SKIN OF A JIHADIST — is at once compelling and scary of the diabolic efforts by terrorists to convert young people to Islam and foist jihad on them. This is relentlessly pursued on Facebook by the IS organisation’s glib talkers to entrap naive European girls bringing to the fore their harrowing and unsuspecting nightmare.
Seeking to get to the bottom of it all under an assumed name, Melodie is skyped by a ruthless terrorist Bilel, who has already married thrice. He constantly talks of true love and is the French right hand man of the most dangerous militant in the world Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, the Caliph of Islamic State.
With some suave and persuasive talk coupled with subtle threats, Bilel promises marriage and an idyllic life in next to no time. The only thing he wants Melodie to do is join him and the ISIS in their Syrian jihad.
Her relationship causes intense pain resulting in Melodie being “married” to a dreaded terrorist much against her wishes. All this on skype. Bilel claimed he had never been married. She takes calculated risks without raising suspicions as her only interest is to bring to the world the manner in which these Jihadis trap young people of both sexes.
The girls are promised the moon if they marry them though they have their way through and through. The ISIS organisation propagates the illusion that it cares for these youthful people thus dispossessing them of their past and reprogramming them.
It is like a cult leader leading the faithful. Their favourite technological weapon is exploiting the Internet. In less than 48 hours Melodie was promised true love, marriage and idyllic life. With all his sweet talk Bilel tries everything in his armoury to convince Melodi to undertake the perilous journey to the Middle East. Entering the Middle East for Melodie is ruled out.
She was unconsciously looking for a father more than a lover. A man who could protect her, a man with the strength to give her a sense of purpose in life. A person she could trust absolutely. Someone mature. Melodie saw in Bilel somebody who had solutions for her troubles.Coming to the aid of the Syrian people seemed a much more ambitious life than the one she imagined for herself in France.
As a freelance investigative reporter in France, Melodie kept her Editors in the loop of trying to infiltrate among the recruiters of the ISIS and do the real story. They agreed but knew the deadly consequences in case the terrorist got wind of Melodie’s gambit. Every part of the way she was assisted by a news photographer colleague required to capture snapshots of those involved in the sweet talk of convincing the European boys and girls to covert to Islam and take up Jihad.
The girls were brainwashed that marrying Jihadists will ensure a life of comfort ever after. In Melodie’s case she had decided to do whatever it takes to earn Bilel’s trust and extract as much information about the modus operandi of trapping unsuspecting girls and getting them to enter Syria. Once in their clutches these girls were left at the mercy of the fearsome Jihadists. They were exploited and treated like slaves by the Jihadists.
Importantly, it reveals how technology is used to spread radicalism and the factors that motivates young people including women to join the extremist wars. Erelle’s book is already an international best seller. Her quest is investigating on behalf of a desperate mother, the disappearance of a Belgian teenage girl when she decided to adopt a psudonym and see first hand what the online world of jihad is like. One thing which remained constant was that entering the Middle East or Syria was ruled out. Melodie is under threat even today and understandably cannot reveal her true identity. She wonders how can there be any moral if the story isn’t finished. “More and more I feel the threat of danger. It’s invincible, unforseeable, and constant. Or perhaps I’m imagining things. I’ve asked myself so many questions which have gone unanswered.”
She summed up her experience in the words of Franklin Roosevelt: “If asked to classify human suffering, I would do it in this order: sickness, death, and doubt.”
She goes on to say “my uncertainties and the consequences of my actions have thrown me into a mental prison, and only a reality clad in intangible convictions free me. For the past eight months since May 5, 2014, my life has been an eternal recurrence. I stopped counting the number of statements I’ve given to various branches of the police when it reached 254. I’ve never sought them out. The authorities have always come to me.”
For her safety the periodicals where she publishes articles have banned her from writing on the Islamic state and its networks. Drastic safety measures have been implemented at her work places. Meanwhile young girls in burqas, accompanied by much older men, have started asking strange questions at the reception desk. The threats have also got more serious by and by. This has necessitated shutting down Melodie’s Facebook account but she can still access her skype account.
At the same time someone claiming to be Bilel’s wife started sending intimidating monologues of insults. Her recurrent nagging question: “How does it feel bitch to write a story about a terrorist and fall in love with him?” It was a strange interpretation of events. “Was this really Bilel’s wife or was it Bilel himself still alive and torturing me.”
Simultaneously multiple police branches have classified Rachid X., known as Abul Bilel al-Firanzi as “alive.” They have no proof of his death but they do have a thick file on him. Melodie recalls that after a while she found a video on her. It showed her wearing a veil on her couch. It was probably taken by Bilel she imagines. There is no audio but it does include cartoon characters of a devil and bilingual, french and Arabic, subtitles. She acknowledges she has watched the video only once and does not think she will ever watch it again.
Melodie, however, remembers every word: “My brothers from around the world, issue a fatwa against this impure person who has scorned the Almighty. If you see her anywhere on earth, follow Islamic law and kill her. Make sure she suffers a long and painful death. Whoever mocks Islam will pay for it in blood. She’s more impure that a dog. Rape, stone, and finish her. Insha’Allah.” She asks the readers to decide: which is worse, doubt or certainty?
As of today it is estimated that 15,000 foreign fighters have joined the ranks of the ISIS since 2010. They come from 80 different countries. According to official numbers there are 1089 French nationals from no fewer than 89 districts of that country. One hundred and twenty have returned to France while 40 have died in Syria. Unofficially fighters in the IS organisation number between 35,000 and 45,000.