If Islam Is A Loving, Peaceful Religion, Then Why Do Muslims Kill?

It’s an oft-repeated question: If Islam is a loving, peaceful religion, then why do some Muslims kill? For nearly 20 years, as a researcher first then a counter-terrorism analyst, I have tried to answer this question. I traveled to over 70 countries to meet people in their homes, offices, and prisons to offer an answer to a complex question.

What’s the answer to radicalization? We’ve been asking this for decades.

We all know by now that there is no one answer. There is no one-size-fits-all framework that will help us examine the multiple motivations for why some girls and women (or boys and men) join violent extremist groups. Thank goodness, after nearly a decade of struggling with those who profile and generalize, that we have reached a consensus in the world community that there is no one answer. However, there is a pattern. (My new book reveals that pattern.)

It’s personalAnd political. And everything-in-between.

In my new book, Invisible Martyrs, I have tried to imagine myself on the other side. What would I feel if I lived in a protracted conflict? What would I do if I had witnessed torture, trauma and terrible-life incidents? And importantly, how would I act if I were the victim? Would I, too, become the victimizer?

The truth is: I don’t know. I can’t predict my thoughts, feelings or actions.

What I do know for certain is that Islam forbids suicide, violent extremism, and abhors the killing of innocent women, children, men and yes, animals too.

Therefore, so-called religious extremists are not religious at all. Even though they weave verses from the Quran and sprinkle hadith (oral traditions) throughout their literature; their online and offline messages seem very “Islamic” when in fact, they are a distortion and a distraction away from the real message of the faith.

Inside The Book

In my new book, I explore the uncomfortable nexus between religion and terrorism by examining female radicals. This is what you will find inside the book:

  • The story of Shannon Conley, an average young American woman from Denver, CO who married an ISIS fighter online and joined the extremist group. She was arrested at Denver airport. Where is Shannon now?
  • Three East African teenagers, also from Denver, lied to their parents and boarded a plane for Turkey to join ISIS…but when they are caught, they are pardoned and returned to their community. What happens to the girls once they return home?
  • A newly wed Pakistani woman, who is well educated and once lived in Saudi Arabia, married a man from California after meeting online–their marriage turned deadly as the husband-and-wife hit team murdered innocent people at a community center in San Bernardino, CA. What can we learn from a dead female terrorist?
  • Iraq’s youngest female suicide bomber is caught on camera with a bomb under her oversized blue abaya (dress). Four hours later, in police custody, she said she was drugged and didn’t want to hurt anyone. So who indoctrinated her?
  • A girl from Indian-held Kashmir approaches a terrorist group and offers to be a suicide bomber. But the ‘brothers’ do not see her value as a woman who dares to kill in the name of conflict, Islam and her gender. Where is she now?

And so much more. My new book is a series of stories of girls and women who leave everything behind to join extremist groups–this is the untold story of their lives and motivations. Through my counter-terrorism work, I have found Islam. I have learned that Islam is not extreme, violent, or hateful.

There is another narrative, more powerful and meaningful because it is based on truth.

And the truth never lies.

To order the book, you can click here. Amazon

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