Dimitri Bontinck lived every parent's worst nightmare. His teenage son, introduced to Islam by his girlfriend, fell into the clutches of a radical mosque. Dimitri watched helplessly as his son, Jay, transformed from a gentle boy to a soldier in training, wearing traditional robes and following a strict diet. Completely brainwashed, Jay snuck out of the house and traveled to Syria, all but vanishing. Too late, Dimitri learned that their country, Belgium, was the leading hotbed of Islamic radicalization. Large numbers of teenagers were being lured into this world and expertly indoctrinated into radical Islam. One by one, they disappeared into the Middle East, most never to be seen again.
With no one to help him, Dimitri—a white, Christian-raised atheist—set off on his own to save his son. Using only his military training, a lot of courage, and a little luck, he gradually embedded himself deeper and deeper into the Middle East. After months of searching and several close calls—including being thrown in a jail cell and beaten—he was able to find his son and bring him home. The world was shocked at his unprecedented success, and he started receiving pleas from families around the world, asking that he rescue their children, as well. Increasingly fearful for his own life but unable to ignore these cries for help, Dimitri accepted his newfound role as The Jihadi Hunter.
"[Bontinck] writes of his harrowing quest to find his radicalized son, who joined a group of ISIS terrorists. . . . Bontinck’s account is a loving and revealing tribute to the father-son bond."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
WHAT LED ME TO SYRIA in 2013 to rescue my only son from the grips of ISIS? It was genetics and geography and a Moroccan girl and a small crack that opened in my son’s mind after a breakup. But I must trace part of the story...