In his riveting memoir, Kamal Saleem reveals the story of his life as radical Islamic terrorist and how he finally came to renounce his murderous mission, embrace freedom, and warn America of the continuing dangers of terrorism.
Born into a large Sunni Muslim family in Lebanon, Kamal was taught that the highest goal he could achieve in life was to be martyred while killing infidels, particularly Christians, Jews, and Americans. At age seven, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and entered an assault camp where members of al-Assifa, the armed branch of Fatah, trained for terror missions against Israel.
After years of training and many successful missions, Kamal became a leader among jihadists. A native Arab speaker and known for his fearless commitment, he learned to speak English, French, and Hebrew, enabling him to operate in nearly any country.
But in 1985, a life-changing event caused him to question the worldview he had spent his entire life pursuing—a worldview he was not only willing, but hoping to die for. As a result, he came to know three kind Christian men, and through them he saw the love of God—eventually coming to know their God as well. In The Blood of Lambs, Kamal shares the shocking story of his life as a terrorist, how he eventually severed ties with terrorism, and how he embraced Christ as Savior and discovered the beauty of freedom and the power of love.
1) As a young boy at his mother’s kitchen table, Kamal learned to embrace the teachings of radical Islam and hate infidels. Was there anything you learned in your childhood home that you later found to be untrue? How does knowing that some Islamists are taught their beliefs from childhood affect your view of them?
2) Throughout the book, Kamal tells of the infiltration of radical Islamists into the United States. How do these revelations affect your views of your own safety here? What, if anything, will you do differently in the light of these views?
3) When Kamal is beaten up three times on the way to work at his uncle’s business, he takes refuge in a mosque. Later, the imams of the mosque take Kamal out into the ethnic neighborhoods to avenge him. How did you feel about these scenes? Were the imams delivering justice? Why or why not?
4) What did you learn about Muslim and Lebanese culture that surprised you?
5) Over the course of Kamal’s childhood, financial pressures change his relationship with his father. How did you feel when Kamal’s father pulled him from school and sent him to work at age 7? Are there any childhood family relationships that changed the trajectory of your life?
6) At his home, during madrassa (Muslim religious school), Kamal learned of various teachings from the Koran and hadith. Which of these teachings were new to you? Which most surprised you and why?
7) Prior to reading this book, were you aware of the number of domestic terrorist attacks thwarted by U.S. authorities since 9/11? If not, what about these plots most surprised you? Were you aware of the number of homegrown jihadists operating in the U.S., as opposed to those who have immigrated from other countries? How does that affect your view of the threat of jihadist terrorism on U.S. soil?
8) How did you feel when you read the scene in which Kamal’s unit of child soldiers comes under rocket attack in the Golan Heights? How did you feel when his young friend Mohammed was killed? What have you learned from this book about jihadists’ use of child soldiers?
9) In the Fatah/PLO terror camp at Sabra, Kamal was mentored by a radical named Abu Yousef. How do you think Kamal’s life might have been different if Abu Yousef had not mentored him? Would Kamal be alive today? What does Abu Yousef’s mentorship tell us about the power of male role modeling in the life of a child?
10) During the story, Kamal is tracked to his hometown and also threatened via email by a group of radical Pakistanis. Were you aware that this type of activity is taking place in the U.S.? What are your thoughts on that?
11) What new understanding have you gained from this book about the roots and nature of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict? How has this book affected your view of whether peace is possible in this conflict?
12) During the story, Kamal travels to Libya to train terrorists from around the world in desert camps sponsored by the dictator Moammar Ghaddafi. Were you aware that such camps existed and still exist today? What are your thoughts on the existence of these “universities of terrorism?” How does it affect your thinking about Islamism to know that camps exist only to train people to kill Jews and Americans?
13) Kamal’s story reveals the link between Saudi Arabian money and Islamist terrorism. How has the book affected your view of our staunch U.S. ally?
14) We learn from Kamal’s story that “honor killing” is now taking place in the United States. Why do you think the U.S. media has placed so little emphasis on covering these crimes?
15) Were you surprised to learn that the man who made a jihadist threat to Kamal after he spoke at the U.S. Air Force Academy was released back into American streets? How does that affect your view of the First Amendment and whether jihadists are using American liberties against this country?
16) Clearly, Kamal Saleem has killed people and is now telling his story. Do you believe a man can repent of such a life and go on to do good in the world?
Kamal Saleem was born under another name into a large Sunni Muslim family in Lebanon. At age seven, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and immediately entered a Palestinian Liberation Organization terror training camp in Lebanon. After being involved in terror campaigns in Israel, Europe, Afghanistan, and Africa, and finally making radical Islam converts in the United States, Saleem renounced jihad and became an American citizen. He has appeared on CNN, CBS News, and Fox News programs, and has spoken on terrorism and radical Islam at Stanford University, the University of California, the Air Force Academy, and other institutions nationwide. He is the author of The Blood of Lambs.