Magazine article New Internationalist

Two Sisters into the Syrian Jihad

Magazine article New Internationalist

Two Sisters into the Syrian Jihad

Article excerpt

Two Sisters Into the Syrian Jihad by Åsne Seierstad, translated by Seán Kinsella (Virago, ISBN 978 0 349 00905 6)

In October 2013, Ayan and Leila - then aged 19 and 16 - voluntarily lefttheir home in Oslo and travelled to Syria to find husbands and support the creation of a new Islamic State. Convinced that they had been brainwashed or kidnapped, their father spent the next two years desperately trying to get them back.

Journalist Åsne Seierstad, best known for The Bookseller of Kabul, painstakingly recreates the girls' story from multiple sources - including, 21st-century drama that this is, fascinating social-media conversations between the girls and their family and friends both before and after their arrival in Syria. How did two intelligent and articulate teenagers come to be radicalized? What led them to take such a bold and irreversible step? …

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