Kamal Saleem was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1958. At the age of seven, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and soon after joined Fatah, the largest faction of the PLO. His book The Blood of Lambs: A Former Terrorist’s Memoir of Death and Redemption alternates between the story of his youth as a member of Fatah and his present day actions.

At seven, he began smuggling weapons into Israel and soon moved on to combat missions. He participated in extortions, kidnappings, bombings, murders, and the usual terrorist activities as he moved up in the Fatah ranks. At the age of 16, he went to Libya for advanced terror training in one of Muammar Gaddafi’s training camps. He returned home just prior to the start of the Lebanese civil war and spent several years fighting along the Beirut’s Green Line. He was eventually sent to Saudi Arabia to raise money for the PLO, which he was apparently very successful at, collecting large donations from wealthy oil Sheikhs. He returned to Lebanon and was involved in a mission to steal SA-7 SAMs from Syria; once they were stolen, he helped transport them into Afghanistan for use against the Soviets. While in Afghanistan Mr. Saleem shot down a Soviet bomber with one of the SA-7s. In 1981, he came to the United States in an effort to radicalize American Muslims, which he continued to do until 1985. In 1985, he was involved in a serious auto accident and broke two vertebrae in his neck. After spending a week in the hospital, his doctor asked him if he would like to continue his recovery at the doctor’s home. Mr. Saleem agreed and moved in with the doctor’s family while he continued to heal. By 1990, he had converted to Christianity and married an American woman. He never told her or anyone about his terrorist past. In 2004, he decided he needed to speak out about the dangers of radical Islam and its ties to terrorism.

Intermixed with the above story are incidents that occurred during his speaking tour in 2007-2008. Most of the incidents involve threats of some sort made against him or his family.

In the first chapter, Mr. Saleem describes an incident that occurred in Chino, California in 2007. I have been in law enforcement for almost 20 years, so I know a little about security and I have a hard time believing the event he described actually happened or at least happened as he described. This caused me to question the truthfulness of everything that came after. All of the events Mr. Saleem describes could have happened and they all could have happened to him but his first chapter makes me wonder. With this in mind, I question how Mr. Saleem could have risen so high in Fatah at such a young age and how he managed to be involved in so many different actions in such a short time.

While I questioned Mr. Saleem’s trustworthiness, I thought the story was well told and it kept me interested. Right up to the point where he moved in with the doctor’s family. While, I found it unlikely that such an event would occur, what really got me was the doctor’s explanation for the offer, “We just want to show you the love of God”. I read that and said; “You have got to be kidding” however it got worse. The scene describing the doctor’s children meeting Mr. Saleem sounded like a scene with Rod and Todd Flanders from The Simpsons. Moreover, to finish it off, god spoke to him.

Mr. Saleem mentions in his book that critics have accused him of fabricating his story, alleging he was never a terrorist, nor a Muslim. The supposed purpose of this is to discredit his warnings about radical Islam. I think his warnings are valid, but I don’t know if his story is.

This book was received from the Library Thing Early Reviewer program.

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