I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad


In her recently released memoir, I Was Told to Come Alone, New America Fellow Souad Mekhennet takes us on her journey behind jihadi lines. Her travels take her from the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized, all the way to the Turkish-Syrian border as she attempts to shed light on what goes on in the minds of young jihadists, and how we can understand what leads them to commit violent acts. Able to go where no Western reporter can, her memoir details chilling interactions with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS, and provides a rare view into the culture of radicalization. Join New America at our D.C. office for an in-depth conversation with the author about her time behind the lines of jihad. 

Born in Germany to a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, Souad Mekhennet stands at an intersection of cultural identity that has granted her access to some of the most wanted terrorist operatives in the world. She is currently a national security correspondent for The Washington Post, and she has reported on terrorism for The New York Times and other news organizations. She is the coauthor of three previous books and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She is an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America.

This event will be live streamed on this page. Follow the conversation online using #Iwastoldtocomealone and @NewAmerica.


Souad Mekhennet 
National Security Correspondant, The Washington Post
Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow, New America


Robert L. McKenzie
Director of the Muslim Diaspora Initiative and Senior Fellow, New America