The room was sparsely furnished. Just an old beat up table in the corner, and the one in the centre of the room where Samir sat; a vacant seat opposite. There were no windows and it was consequently gloomy. The bag over his head was removed and a light at the other side of the table shone directly in his face, blinding him. His hands were manacled to an iron ring welded to the surface of the table. He sat there for what seemed an eternity before the sole door to the room swung open and a shadowy figure strode in and sat down.
The heat was stifling and Samir tried not to let his fear show, but it was a losing battle. Sweat poured from his brow and into his eyes, making them burn like they were on fire. He tried blinking, but it only made matters worse.
The shadowy figure produced a manila envelope and emptied the contents onto the table.
“So, you want to join the “Jihad” against Western Powers. Why”?
Samir’s mind raced. He’d been told that the local branch of al Qaeda were recruiting operatives and that this often meant being sent to the West to live there and await orders for the furtherance of the “Jihad”.
“The Western infidel thinks he is better than us Arabs. He must pay for assassinating our leader”.
“Are you prepared to give your life for Allah”?
Samir knew this question would come. It was inevitable. That was the thing with extremists. In the end it always came down to giving your life for Allah. And that was what made Samir different. He couldn’t have given a damn about Allah. But he would give his life to ensure that his wife and children had a chance of escaping to the West.
“It would be a supreme honour”.
“Very well then. You just might get your wish, and have a chance to serve Allah”.
The shadowy figure rose and left the room.
His eyes having become somewhat accustomed to the glare, Samir was able to catch a glimpse of the contents of the envelope. On the top of a thin pile of papers was a picture of his wife. A cold shiver ran down his spine. He knew that background checks would be done. But it still left him a little uneasy. It was the shadowy figure’s way of letting him know that they know all about him; and whose life was actually at stake.