This book takes us beyond the rhetoric and into the housing estates on the outskirts of Paris to meet Adama, Radouane, Hassan, Tarik, Marley, and a shadowy figure whose name suddenly and brutally became known to the world at the time of the Charlie Hebdoshootings: Amédy Coulibaly. Seeing Amédy through the eyes of close friends and other young Muslim men in the neighbourhoods where they grew up, Fabien Truong uncovers a network of competing loyalties and maps the road these youths take to resolve the conflicts they face: becoming Muslim. For these young men, Islam stands, often alone, as a resource, a gateway – as if it were the last route to “escape” without betrayal and to “fight” in a meaningful and noble way.
Becoming Muslim does not necessarily lead to the radicalized “other”. It is more like a long-distance race, a powerful reconversion of the self that allows for introspection and change. But it can also lead to a belligerent presentation of the self that transforms a dead-end into a call to arms.