Adilah In ‘The Veil’ Explained: Is Adilah Dead?

How does an aspiring model who came to Paris hoping to make it big end up in a refugee camp? Well, that’s the story of Adilah in Stephen Knight’s wonderfully written political thriller, The Veil. When Adilah tries to distribute food bags amongst refugees, one woman identifies her as an ISIS militant and calls her a “daesh” (the radical Sunni Muslim Organization). Adilah is dragged into the middle of a raging mob of women who have lost their husbands and children, and UN officials save her before she gets stomped to death. Now Adilah sits in a secluded tent being watched, while the DGSE, CIA, and MI-6 all want her, suspecting she’s a high-ranking ISIS commander, ‘Djinn al Raqqah.’


Spoilers Ahead

Why did Adilah trust Imogen?

Adilah got stranded with no help from anyone, and she could be killed by any one of the thousands of refugees in the camp. When Imogen arrives to talk to her, she’s a bit hesitant at first, not knowing why she wants to help her. Imogen tells her that she has a thing called a conscience, and she’d saved bugs and insects in her childhood, and now Adilah is the bee in her bonnet. The women bond over their fondness of English poets, and Adilah tells her how her family disowned her when she got into drugs and drinking after coming to Paris. When Imogen takes her out of the camp to take her to Edip Koi, Adilah tells her that ISIS operatives will come for her the moment they find her. Imogen takes her to Istanbul instead, earning her trust, and even though Adilah still doesn’t know who Imogen is, she gets that Imogen only wants to keep her alive. 


Is Adilah the Djinn al Raqqah?

Djinn al Raqqah is an ISIS commander who’s been operating for 15 years, and all the major intelligence agencies are after her. Djinn al Raqqah is suspected of being the spearhead for a massive terrorist attack on a Western country, and Adilah is believed to be that very person. Djinn or Genie means shape shifter, and even though Adilah claims she’s of Algerian descent and comes from Marseille, Imogen thinks she’s lying and playing a double game. When Imogen takes her to Paris, Adilah gets in contact with Umer, a captain of the Bulgarian Navy who’s an ISIS operative. Umer addresses her as the Djinn, and Adilah, who’s been playing victim all along, is actually in on a planned terror attack on the USA. It seems unlikely that Adilah is the Djinn al Raqqah, the ISIS commander who’s led them for 15 years, and the Djinn wouldn’t be so foolish to end up in a refugee camp.  Adilah got recruited by ISIS when she had no hope from life, and she bore her child with one of the many unknown men who sexually exploited her. Once Umer promised her that she could be free again, Adilah didn’t think twice and joined the mission for the destruction of America. 

How does Adilah get her hands on the detonator? 

While Imogen lost her mind on a drunken night over classified CIA documents about her father, Adilah planned an escape from the apartment. Under the constant surveillance of both the French and the Americans, Adilah disguises herself as a delivery person and switches places with the man who came inside the building. Adilah then drives across the town to meet Umer, who’s still reassuring her that once the mission is over, she and her daughter will have freedom. Umer hands over the detonator to blow up the ship to her and tells Adilah that even though he’d be martyred for the good cause, she’d be doing a good thing. Adilah eventually does agree to go with Imogen when she takes her daughter, but her choices constantly keep shifting, as she herself is not sure what’s best for her. 


Why did Adilah tell Imogen about the location of the ship? 

When Imogen and Adilah went to Michael’s mansion, Imogen promised her that she’d get new identities for Adilah and her daughter to get them to Canada. Soon after, Imogen realized that Michael was actually working with the Russian FSB to perpetrate the attack on America, using the ISIS as a cover. Adilah tells Imogen that she heard Umer speaking in Russian with someone of higher authority, and it becomes clear that they’d be getting no help from Michael. Adilah follows Imogen’s instructions to make an exit and waits for her with the car. Just when they’re about to leave for good, Adilah gets shot, but she makes sure she writes the name of the ship on the car’s windshield. Adilah knew that if she and Imogen didn’t make it out of Michael’s house alive, Max or Amir would see the car and figure out the name of the ship. Adilah wanted her daughter to have a different life from hers, and even though she couldn’t guide her through it, she did her part in ensuring that her daughter would never have to go through the horror she had to. Adilah was conflicted in her own head, but in the end of it all, she was a good mother and a human being who wouldn’t want to kill civilians just for the sake of it. It’s important that we remember that she had a chance of killing American civilians when she went into a restaurant as a suicide bomber earlier in her life. Even then, she chose not to shed blood and backed out of her mission. Adilah may not be the Djinn of Raqqah like everyone feared, but she eventually becomes the woman who stops the attack instead of causing it.

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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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