3 Simple Ways to Warn Children About Online Extremism

The Internet is familiar. And it's all too easy to search for the wrong person, group and idea. So how can Muslim parents talk to their children about extremist groups looking for young recruits? A mother of two teenagers, I warn my children, weekly and then monthly, about the dangers of extremists trolling the digital world. At the end of one of my talks, my eldest said, "I have a future here." … [Read more...]

Why Girls Join Violent Groups: An Update On My New Book

  The threat is real. We live in an unsafe world, haunted by criminals, gangs, serial killers, murderers, rapists, and religious extremists. The latter is relatively new and has troubled me for nearly 20 years. As an American Muslim woman, I've been asked over and over again "why" and "how" ordinary-looking Muslims join violent groups. The truth is that the majority of Muslims are kind, … [Read more...]

A Special Keynote Address: The Path to Ijtihad or Critical Thinking

Last week, I was honored to present at The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference in New Mexico. Set in historic Albuquerque, the conference venue and the audience could not have been more perfect--hundreds of law enforcement officers, emergency managers, and government officials, all working together to keep our country safe. As a keynote speaker, I was invited to talk about … [Read more...]

Can We Engage Muslims To Counter Violent Extremism (CVE)?

Years ago, winning the 'hearts and minds' of Muslims worldwide was Washington's solution to disrupting and defeating terrorism. The 'hearts and minds' campaign was intended to do many things, which included motivating Muslims to 'take back Islam.' Some Muslims viewed the campaign with skepticism; others distrusted and denounced it. Today, the new terminology in the world community is CVE or … [Read more...]

Why Do Extremists Kill During Ramadan?

It astonishes me that religious extremists choose to kill during one of Islam's holy months, Ramadan. As a young counter-terrorism analyst, I have been asked every Ramadan to explain why religious-based violence occurs and increases during the sacred month of fasting. According to devout Muslims, there is no justification for fighting during any one of the four sacred months ordained for worship. … [Read more...]

How To Stop Girls From Joining the Islamic State (ISIS)

It’s not that simple. A lesson on the true principles of Islam can help counter some vulnerable girls /women, but it’s not enough. Girls need more than a lecture on Islam. They need love, support, family, and confidence-building measures. As one Muslim mother told me, "We need to empower our daughters.”I have been doing this for a very long time. I began my career in The Counter-Terrorism Center … [Read more...]

Reclaiming the Right to Islam

Who represents Muslims in America? In 2010, I published an op-ed in The Washington Post to look at the question of faith. The truth is that no one represents American Muslims.We are too diverse, different, and determined to practice faith from our own unique personal and cultural lens.The fact is that Muslims in America are too decentralized. And that is a blessing, not a curse. After all, as I … [Read more...]

First Annual Narrative Strategies Conference

A team of scholars will share their experience and expertise this Friday, May 6th on a subject of great importance. Countering violent extremism (CVE) with sound solutions and strategies that actually work. Presently, there is a renewed focus on CVE and a robust discussion is taking place worldwide on what constitutes the right CVE policy and practice. I've been in several meetings in Washington, … [Read more...]

A Man On A Mission To Help Radicalized Youth

  Former extremists are leading a movement to help at-risk youth renounce the use of violence. The Against Violent Extremism (AVE) network includes charismatic speakers and former radicals, including Mubin Shaikh. Based in Canada, Mubin--called 'the undercover jihadi--travels to different locations in the West to talk openly about his recruitment into radical Islam and why he finally … [Read more...]

Discrediting Extremists With Teachings of Islam

The movement has begun. Increasingly, Muslims are questioning radical interpretations of Islam and lashing out against extremists. While this momentum began years ago, there is a greater push in the West and the Muslim world to reaffirm their faith by understanding the Quran and the Sunnah, the oral traditions of Islam's Prophet. Short films are one way to reach young audiences across the Islamic … [Read more...]