Aimen Dean (@AimenDean) was once one of al-Qaeda’s most respected bomb-makers who swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden himself. He eventually switched sides and spent eight years as an MI6 spy trying to take al-Qaeda down from the inside. He is the author of Nine Lives: My Time as the MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al-Qaeda and co-host of podcast Conflicted. This is part one of a two-part episode. Check out part two here!
What We Discuss with Aimen Dean:
- The radicalizing circumstances that contributed to Aimen’s recruitment by Islamic extremists after memorizing the Quran by age 12.
- Early misgivings about the cause brought about by witnessing a brutal revenge massacre instigated by his own side during the Bosnian War when he was only 17.
- What Aimen learned about “logistical back-office jihad” and financing terrorism on a global scale while creatively accounting for a now-infamous charity front.
- Aimen’s trip to Afghanistan at the behest of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that led him to swear allegiance to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
- What Aimen learned — and taught — about ingenious and terrible methods of torture that would extract confessions from victims without leaving permanent marks.
- And much more…
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Hey, we all do crazy things when we’re young. Sometimes we toilet paper the principal’s house on Halloween. Sometimes we superglue the entire football team’s lockers shut the night of homecoming. Sometimes we abuse the district phone tree to cancel school and get a three-day weekend in honor of Groundhog Day. Sometimes we draw a wang in Sharpie on some dude’s forehead when he passes out at the party. And sometimes, when you’re Aimen Dean, author of Nine Lives: My Time as the MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al-Qaeda and co-host of podcast Conflicted, you memorize the Quran at age 12, get radicalized into fighting (or using your creative accounting skills) for jihadists around the world, swear allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and then look for an exit strategy because you realize you don’t want the blood of innocents on your hands — you really just want to go to university and pursue a career teaching history.
Then the British offer to recruit you into MI6 in order to spy on your former terrorist colleagues when it’s clear they’re trying to start the war to end all wars at all costs based on faulty scriptural translations and manipulations. On this episode, we talk to Aimen about how this unbelievable-but-true series of events transpired. Listen, learn, and enjoy! This is part one of a two-part episode. Check out part two here!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, AIMEN DEAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Aimen Dean, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Nine Lives: My Time as the MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al-Qaeda by Aimen Dean with Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister
- Conflicted Podcast
- Aimen Dean | Twitter
- Aimen Dean | Facebook
- When Mafia and Jihadists Team Together by Alessio Postiglione | F3 Magazine
- Even Al-Qaeda Denounced Beheading Videos. Why the Islamic State Brought Them Back. | The Washington Post
- The Qur’an
- Coke Fatwa | Wikipedia
- Smurfette | Smurfs Wiki
- Iran-Iraq War Begins: 1980 | AP Archive
- Historiography and Memory of the Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990 | Violence de Masse & Résistance
- Sayyid Qutb | Religious Literacy Project, Harvard Divinity School
- Why Sayed Qutb inspired Iran’s Khomeini and Khamenei | Al Arabiya
- 20 Years Since The Bosnian War | The Atlantic
- Bosnia: The Cradle of Modern Jihadism? | BBC News
- Bosnian Mujahideen | Military Wiki
- Battle for Vozuća | Wikipedia
- Report Probes Mujahideen Killings During Bosnian War | Balkan Insight
- Saudi Government Disband Al-Haramain Charity | Azerbaijan State News Agency
- Trial for Men Accused of Plotting 9/11 Attacks Is Set for 2021 | The New York Times
- How Did Abu Zubaydah Lose His Eye? | The New Yorker
- Afghan Civil War (1996–2001) | Wikipedia
- East African Embassy Bombings | FBI
- Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War on the US | ThoughtCo
- The Book of Hadith: Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad from the Mishkat al Masabih
- Why ‘Khorasan’ is Such a Potent Call to Islamist Arms | The Wire
- Remembering the Kurdish Uprising of 1991 | BBC News
- Tunis Museum Attack: 20 People Killed After Hostage Drama at Tourist Site | The Guardian
- The Mongol Invasions of Bilād al-Shām by Ghāzān Khān and Ibn Taymīyah’s Three “Anti-Mongol” Fatwas by Denise Aigle | Mamluk Studies Review, University of Chicago
- Malaria | CDC
- Typhoid Fever | CDC
- Salat-L-Istikhara: Islamic Prayer for Decision-Making | Learn Religions
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