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  • Summary

  • When investigative journalist Shiv Malik was betrayed by a source he considered a friend, he spent almost fifteen years tracking down the truth about what happened. The Messenger is an extraordinary audio tale of friendship, lies, betrayal, terrorism, the destruction of a marriage, and the insidiousness of fake news long before it went viral. In the wake of the 7/7 London bombings, Shiv Malik began working for the BBC to discover how young South Asian men like him had turned into suicide bombers. That's when he met notorious Islamist spokesman Hassan Butt, who told Shiv that he'd repented and left al-Qaeda. Hassan wanted Shiv to write his biography, and Shiv thought he'd found the biggest story of his life—a story that would help to change the world for the better. Little did he know that Hassan Butt would almost destroy his life. Over the next three years, Shiv and Hassan became friends, until one day there was a knock on the door from police investigators and everything fell apart. In eight revealing episodes, featuring Shiv's own audio recordings of his conversations with Hassan, Shiv searches for where he can place his trust: in the reams of evidence, in the cops, in a terrorist who swears he's changed, or in a friend who has no one else to turn to? Produced by Topic Studios.
    ©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC
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What of your source betrays you?

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Episodes
  • Episode 1: The Charming Jihadist

    Nov 5 2020
    In the aftermath of 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings, journalists were desperate to explain why young British Asian men were apparently turning against the country of their birth. Ambitious young reporter Shiv Malik prided himself on being able to persuade them to open up to him. Then he met Hassan Butt, one of the most notorious spokesman for Islamic terrorism in the UK. Hassan told Shiv he now denounced violence and asked Shiv to help him write a book to help others leave the terrorist network.
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    28 mins
  • Episode 2: How to Make A Terrorist

    Nov 5 2020
    Shiv spends hundreds of hours recording conversations with Hassan in his small house near Manchester in the north of England to try and find out what it was that made Hassan the voice of violent Islamist idealogy. Hassan shares personal secrets and Shiv discovers they have more in common than he thought.
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    26 mins
  • Episode 3: How to Be A Terrorist

    Nov 5 2020
    Hassan tells Shiv about how he moved to Pakistan and got deeper into the terrorist network. After 9/11, Hassan starts to meet some of America’s most wanted men and glories at being at the center of global attention. Then he gets involved in a bomb plot in Pakistan and tells Shiv that that’s when everything changed.
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    21 mins

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What listeners say about The Messenger

Average Customer Ratings
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Incredible journalism

All the reasons democracy needs robust journalism and the sacrifices journalists make to hold the powerful accountable.

19 people found this helpful

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Heck of a story; audio has some sore spots.

First off, I almost never rate anything 'perfect' so view my 4stars in that light.

As one version of the saying goes, it ain't over 'til it's over. That sure applies here. An informative & interesting story that also contains twists to the twists. Bits of the audio were hard for me to make out but the reasons & instances were acceptable to me, within this story. This is one I'll come back to and replay a couple of times in the future.

13 people found this helpful

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Wow! Not what I was expecting at all!

A reporter is conned by his subject, or was he? The reporter wants to know why he fell for the con, but was he conned? At the end, the questions remain, the reporters family life and career are in shambles because the subject of his reportage conned him. But was he conned? You decide.

8 people found this helpful

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A gripping story

It’s sad so many lives have been ruined by the biggest lie of all “Religion”

7 people found this helpful

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Intriguing non-fiction (or is it)

This was a great story describing the human experience. The concept of using actual recordings to enhance the story is great, IF the recording is discernible & of even modest audio quality.

3 people found this helpful

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The best podcast in 2021 until now

I binged this podcast in one set , it’s shocking, the host is a hero, and he sustained a great trauma after facing real evil, I also bought the book

2 people found this helpful

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Can’t get rid of this damn thing

Can’t get rid of this damn thing to don’t click on I to sample!!!!!! Can’t

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent Story

Was memorized by the story and enjoyed it. Audio was hard to understand at times

1 person found this helpful

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enjoyed thoroughly.

kept me engaged my entire trip. gripping. I have never heard this incredible story. wow

1 person found this helpful

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A journalist caught in a web of disinformation

Shiv Malik is a young London-based journalist specializing in terrorism. He is excited to find what he thinks is the terrorist version of a defector. But then the story begins to unravel...

An interesting and honest memoir of what can happen when a journalist gets too caught up in his story. About three hours, perfect for a long commute.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-20

A gripping listen

I loved this podcast, to the point I ended up listening to every episode in only two sittings. It was informative and interesting, telling a highly personal and reflective tale of journalism within a UK and global political context that has impacted on is all. I'd highly recommend to everyone.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Joanna Frawley
  • 11-22-20

A little bit too 'poor me'

I did enjoy this but felt like too much of the podcast was the author trying to get sympathy about how badly he'd been treated, as opposed to taking more responsibility and focusing on the story behind what had been truth and what had been a lie, which was what I was really interested in. At points I was tempted to stop listening because the constant 'poor me' narrative became too overwhelming.
The section about the police asking to see how recordings I found particularly grating - when should journalists protecting their sources take precedence over national security and stopping terrorism? And it seemed to me the press treated the police, who were just doing their jobs, very badly. It felt like the author was more bothered about trying to protect his precious book than a terrorist being stopped and lives saved. (even if it did turn out not to be true). After that section I really stopped sympathising with the author and was happy to rattle through the final episodes without properly focusing.
An interesting listen definitely but too biased for me.

17 people found this helpful

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  • innes
  • 11-07-20

Binged this one

Gripping story of a journalist beguiled by his source. Incredible honesty and self knowledge from author Shiv Malik about his ups and downs as he tried for 10 years to get to the truth. Lots here that I didn't get from reading the book.

Full disclosure: I'm one of the people interviewed in this serial. (Cameo role only - but I won't hold that against them.)

9 people found this helpful

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  • mrs samantha l craig
  • 11-07-20

Gripped from start to end.

excellent, highly recommend. Compelling story and well narrated by the writer who gives an incredibly honest, meaningful and soul bearing account of his journey into this investigation of twists and turns. Couldn't break away once I had started. Good job its Saturday.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Grant N.
  • 04-25-21

Excellent ...

Perhaps i was under a rock for a few years but i had no recollection of the events outlined here .. Superbly narrated and produced and a cliffhanger that basically saw me binge in one sitting ... Cant reccomend enough !

2 people found this helpful

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  • greg fuller
  • 05-21-21

An Investgative Journalistic Diamond!

Worthy self-effacing body of work, giving a thought provoking perspective into the current world state!

1 person found this helpful

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  • hershpat
  • 05-08-21

what a story

loved it truly heartbreaking moments of how someone life can get flipped upside down. I couldn't stop listening episode after episode.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • 05-02-21

Very interesting story

I found the story very interesting and it really drew me in Shiv wrote a good story and does a good job narrating.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. Ronald Wild
  • 05-01-21

A great tale.

This is a fairly concise story spanning thirteen years, well written and told. In the real world of espionage and terrorism, you cannot have any really trustworthy friends.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Scott69
  • 04-13-21

Fantastic listen

This is addictive listening and really well read. I could not wait to listen to each chapter and very poinent footnote about all messengers in today's society

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-21

Good story due to poor journalism.

Good story but just highlights that "journalists" are only out to sell a story. Shiv tries to redeem himself but the last chapter shows he has the same narcissistic tendencies as Hassan. He could have pulled on "the loose thread but the story would unravel" so carried on to try and get a book out, sell a "story" and then deal with the "oh, must have missed that" afterwards (Last chapter). Both of them like the attention and both of then want their names on everyone's lips. Only difference is Shiv blames Hassan and doesn't accept his part in the whole circus because it wasn't the outcome he wanted.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-25-21

amazing

loved it, amazing, captivating, brilliant thank you for sharing your story. absolutely have to get this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-20

Interesting

Quite interesting & informative .
Felt quite sorry for the author as he was duped by a professional liar.

1 person found this helpful

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  • swervnmervn
  • 12-18-21

Fascinating

Found it interesting and engaging. Definitely one of the better made podcasts I’ve listened to lately

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  • Lori W
  • 08-22-21

True or Not - It's Believable.

It was a time in our lives where we wanted answers.
Wish you all the best and it was great listening to you.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-28-21

Too Spread Out

It was super strung out to make the 6 episodes but interesting enough in the end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-20-21

exceptional

I just wished it was longer! What a story and the honesty from the Author is inspirational.

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  • Marianna Koulias
  • 04-26-21

A twisting tale

Really interesting insight into extremists and the lies surrounding them. Very well spoken and researched.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-21

absolutely compelling

loved this. fascinating story told with honesty and self reflection about how a journalist bought into a fantasist's world, only to destroy his own. loved the narration and interviews too

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