- Policy Analysis
Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad
How did Tunisia, a democratic bright spot of the Arab uprisings with very little history of terrorist violence within its borders before 2011, become one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State? This groundbreaking book presents the first history of the Tunisian jihadi movement and challenges simplified views of jihadism's appeal and success.
Zelin marshals cutting-edge empirical findings, extensive primary source research, and on-the-ground fieldwork, including a variety of documents in Arabic going as far back as the 1980s and interviews with Ansar al-Sharia members and Tunisian fighters returning from Syria. The first book on the history of the Tunisian jihadi movement, Your Sons Are at Your Service is a meticulously researched account that challenges simplified views of jihadism’s appeal and success.
Advance Praise for Your Sons Are at Your Service
“Backed by an astonishing body of research, Your Sons Are at Your Service is a sweeping, authoritative history of Tunisian jihadism, with new revelations on almost every page. Zelin is one of the most respected scholars studying terrorism at the top of his game in this debut book.”
—J. M. Berger, author of Extremism
“In this meticulously researched book packed with new discoveries, Zelin provides a comprehensive history of Tunisian jihadism, one of the least studied branches of the jihadi movement. But Your Sons Are at Your Service is much more than a country case study: it provides important insights on broader topics such as postrevolutionary politics, Salafi activism, foreign fighting, rebel recruitment, jihadi ideology, the Islamic State, and the war in Libya. This book should be on the shelf of any serious student of the modern Middle East.”
—Thomas Hegghammer, author of Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism Since 1979
“Zelin presents a striking and unique study of the Tunisian jihadi mobilization in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, its historical roots in the 1980s, and in the global jihadi movement. He has conducted extremely valuable and innovative research, collecting data and speaking with activists and leaders in the extremist circles on the ground in Tunisia. The book cements Zelin’s reputation as an expert in his field, prized for his independent voice on this critical subject.”
—Jytte Klausen, Brandeis University
“To understand modern jihadism as an ideology and dogma, the Tunisian jihadi movement provides a unique case.... Zelin gives a glimpse into the past and future of jihadism through the Tunisian scope.”
—Wassim Nasr, France 24
Your Sons Are at Your Service in the Media
POMEPS Middle East Politics Podcast
About the Author
Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a visiting research scholar in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University. He is the founder of the website Jihadology.net, a primary source archive of global jihadi materials.
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