As Tunisia moves slowly forward on the path to democracy, the country is proportionally one of the biggest exporters of jihadist fighters. Over the past three years thousands of young Tunisians are believed to have joined Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq. Why are so many Tunisians flocking to jihad, and how can the trend be stopped?
Over several months we have tried to meet those who traveled to join the war in Syria and who have come back. What struck us most was the strength of their conviction and the diversity of their backgrounds. Some are engineers or doctors – in Tunisia, the phenomenon cuts across social classes. Most of these young people were students or had held jobs.
Some of them agreed to speak to us, but it was difficult to convince them to appear on camera. We won the trust of some of their families and we met one young Tunisian jihadist who went to Syria and agreed to speak about his experiences.