ABOUT THE STORY Jibran, a British Muslim who has given up life in London to join ISIS in Syria, is a jihadi and proud of it. As Abu Ramzan, his commander, repeatedly tells him, his excellent English accent is of great use to the organisation’s propaganda operations. He is not a native Syrian whose beliefs can be ignored by a Western audience, but a man who has given up the comforts of the West for the arduous sacrifices of the Truth—in this case, the three main points of the Truth as retailed to him by his commander. However, there is no principle or nature so pure that it can continue without a little earthly dilution. In Jibran’s case, his mixed motives, with their own innocence and purity, draw from a desire to have a wife in the country for which he has sacrificed everything.
Fatima Bhutto’s story, astutely tinted by the patois and categories of Jibran’s own Hackney (and perhaps hackneyed) worldview, takes place over the course of a television interview. As Jibran beats back inquiries from a BBC correspondent, he mentally reprises the consolations of his conjugal life. But is everything as secure as it seems?