Admittedly, I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did. But, Tamer’s voice shone through in what could have been a very dull book to make it interesting. In short, this is the story of an undercover agent (and Tamer Elnoury is not his real name) who went from busting drug rings as a police officer to being an FBI agent dealing with terrorism. Not only was this book interesting to listen to, I really found it enlightening.
Tamer, as a Muslim, spoke about how hard it was to work with and against radical Islamists since he grew up as a mainstream Muslim who grew up succeeding in the American dream. His beliefs align with the five pillars, that Islam is not a violent religion and that jihad is an internal struggle with God in order to submit. It’s not about harming and killing innocents.
He also showed how hard undercover work is and what it’s like. I think that because of police shows, we have an idea of what that means and entails, yet you don’t really know. It’s hard work. And when you’re confronted with becoming friends and confidants to people who take something so personal to you and weaponize it, that’s not easy.
Finally, I really found it enlightening about how many plots get foiled and how. It’s not just that the country finds out and destroys it (what I’d call an external cause), but also internal. Tamer stated that not all terrorist groups are the same. There are many opinions and they all vie for the same resources.
This book, while about a very serious topic, was fun and interesting. It also had a great message of unity to it. The only way to take away this threat is to understand it, even if we don’t want to. To do that, you have to hear the voices of the mainstream and not block them out. If that’s not a good message, I don’t know what is.