United Nations Commission on The Status of Women Session 63 Explores Violent Extremism & Women

Violent extremism can have a devastating impact on women’s social protection and services. Media coverage of violent extremism often focuses on terrorists, military, law enforcement, political issues. But, the realities for women in areas of violent extremism, often conflict as well, are the decline and reduction of basic social protection and services. On March 12, 2019, in a unique panel held … [Read more...]

The Number One Book We All Need To Read And Here’s Why

In the New Year, the number one book that I suggest we all read is The Rabbit Listened, and here's why. The best-selling children's story teaches the very simple principle of empathy. In today's climate of rising conflict and ugly wars, it's important to listen to understand the root of violence and then offer sound solutions. To be honest, I don't read many children's books. I prefer the hard, … [Read more...]

Meaningful Discussions on Terrorism Will Continue To Matter in 2019

We live in an age of terrorism, which is why meaningful discussions on Islam will continue to matter in 2019. Violence from religious groups as well as violence perpetrated by far-right extremist groups will continue in the New Year. For decades, I've been teaching and lecturing on violent behavior, focusing primarily on women in conflict as well as searching for answers on the key question: Why … [Read more...]

Battling the Bad Guys To Find the Truth Is Possible With Faith, Fortitude and Forbearance

Battling the bad guys to find the truth is possible with faith, fortitude and forbearance, even in a world where conflicts continue to rage. In this book review, award-winning author and scholar, Dr. Akbar Ahmed shares his insight on my new book Invisible Martyrs.  Read the review below:  Farhana Qazi, an American Pakistani, a senior counter-terrorism professional is the nearest equivalent to a … [Read more...]

Perspectives on Terrorism Book Review of Invisible Martyrs

Book reviews matter and I've been honored to receive the following reviews of my new book, Invisible Martyrs, from other scholars and kind-hearted readers. I'm honored to have this review from Joshua Sinai published in the "Counterterrorism Bookshelf" section of the Perspectives on Terrorism journal, Volume 12, Issue 5.  Farhana Qazi, Invisible Martyrs: Inside the Secret World of Female … [Read more...]

A Must Read Book By A Young Girl From Pakistan Who Gives Voice To Honor Killings

I Should Have Honor is a must read book by a young girl, Khalida Brohi, from rural Pakistan who gives voice to honor killings. So often, honor killings in Pakistan and in other Islamic countries take place in the name of male pride and/or religious fervor. It's wrong. It's wicked. And it's still widely practiced.  See her short video clip for a powerful message - We should all have honor, says … [Read more...]

A New Film on Rape in Burma Highlights Crimes Committed Against Women

A new film on rape and sexual violence in Burma highlights crimes committed against women. The film, "Mother, Daugher, Sister" is a gripping and hauntingly real documentary of stories of women who have witnessed rape or have been raped by the Burmese military and authorities. Director Jeanne Hallacy, who is a compassionate and strong-willed woman, presents the film to audiences around the country, … [Read more...]

Why Women Choose Violent Action

Women choose violent action for a plethora of reasons, including religion, respect from their community or peers, revenge, retribution from past or current sins, and the right to change prolonged (armed) conflict. This not only applies to radical / violent Muslim women and girls, but to women everywhere.  In numerous studies and books, including the release of my latest book Invisible Martyrs: … [Read more...]

Stories With Heroic Imagination and The Meaning of Memoir

I spent an entire afternoon at the library and discovered the humanity and warmth of stories written as a memoir with heroic imagination. This kind of narrative--the use of a hero or heroine--is one of the oldest and most compelling methods of holding someone's attention: everyone wants to be told a story in narrative form.  For years, I focused on the stories of people living in conflict and … [Read more...]

On Masked Men, Hijackings, And Nightmares

It was the same dream for years: sitting with a travel magazine on an international flight when masked men take over the plane in a hijacking that seemed oh-so-1980s. The nightmare had consumed me throughout my days in the U.S. government.   In my dreams, men with dark eyes wore black masks and wielded sharp weapons. They spoke a language I vaguely understood and made plans to strike a … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Farhana Qazi and Wajahat Ali, One of CNN’s Most Influential Muslims, At Bus Boys & Poets Bookstore

  Award-winning journalist and playwright Wajahat Ali, and one of CNN's Most Influential Muslims, will join me at the Bus Boys & Poets Bookstore to discuss perceptions of Muslims in America, Islam, conflicts in the Muslim world, Islamophobia and much more. On October 1st, at 6:30 pm, Ali will openly discuss the most pressing issues of our time: perceptions and misperceptions of Islam, … [Read more...]

Invisible Martyrs With Farhana Qazi, a Conversation On Violent Extremism And Islam

Join Farhana Qazi for a conversation on violent extremism and Islam, the theme of her new book Invisible Martyrs at the International Spy Museum on September 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Hot Topic Series Why would a girl from Denver join ISIS, an extremist movement known for its mistreatment of women? Why would an Iraqi girl strap on a suicide vest? What does Islam say about violence? These … [Read more...]

Islam Is Feminism

Some Muslim women today are using the word Islam and feminism as two separate concepts and ideas when for many Muslim women, including myself, Islam is feminism. Islam has a long historical tradition of respecting and recognizing the talent and sacrifices of its women. For years, I have been teaching my students in the US military and at universities that men and women are equal in Islam--a … [Read more...]

The Final Truth About 72 Virgins In Paradise

The myth of the 72 virgins in Paradise is a common theme for terrorist and violent extremist groups, and the final truth is anything but a myth. The reality is that there are no 72 virgins in Paradise. Numerous Islamic sources and my own interviews with religious figures across the Muslim and Western world confirm this truth. Here's why: Heaven in the Muslim faith does not include 72 wide-eyed … [Read more...]

Book Review of Invisible Martyrs And Why Women Join Violent Groups

The first book review of Invisible Martyrs and why women join violent groups appeared in the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Reading a review of my book confirms what I have always known: as a global community, we are still grappling with Islam.  There is a wider debate on the role of religion in violent extremism and terrorism studies. Some have argued, including Graham's controversial … [Read more...]

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