Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Talks About Women’s Rights In A Recent Interview

  In a recent interview, the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, says he is making key reforms which includes women's rights. The interview, co-hosted by "CBS This Morning" and "60 Minutes" contributing correspondent Noah O'Donnell, talked to the Crown Prince about a number of key issues, including the detention of more than 200 princes, billionaires and prominent Saudi … [Read more...]

Discovering Oman: A Peaceful Muslim Country

  Last winter, I sailed the Arabian sea onto the port of Muscat. When I was not giving terrorism lectures on the ship, I would step off the Seabourn and discover a world enshrined in mystique. Through the bazaar, you can smell the rich woody scent of frankincense and an array of spice stored in baskets.  Muscat sits on the Straits of Hormuz at the most easterly port of the Arabian … [Read more...]

The Arab Youth Who Do Not Belong To The Happy Gulf Country

Dubai is a dazzling city of high-rise buildings, massive shopping centers, and night clubs set in the sands of the Arabian desert. But behind the glitter and glamor is a sizable community of young men and women who do not belong to the so-called happy country of The United Arab Emirates or UAE.Why We Do Not BelongA young man named Mamour has dark eyes, shiny black hair and an affectionate smile. … [Read more...]

Undocumented Children Are Prime Terrorist Recruits

Earlier this year, I spent some time with experts working in Lebanon who track ISIS recruitment of children. Given the sensitivity of their work, their names are not mentioned in this brief report, but their insights are worth sharing. Given a variety of factors, multiple sources believe that ISIS recruiting has steadily increased in Beirut. ISIS’s recruiting strategy in Lebanon leverages a … [Read more...]

A Spike In Terrorist Attacks Worldwide

The world we live in is forever changed by terrorist attacks. No longer one-time-events, terrorists have learned that violence captures immediate media attention. Violence makes for sensationalist news and more than often, attackers force authorities, government agencies, and the wider public to react, which is what terrorists want. I am reminded of the last days of Ramadan--considered by Muslims … [Read more...]

The Final Analysis: Why Extremist Women Write

Writing from behind-the-screens, female propagandists are viewed by their followers as credible messengers, speaking out in volumes about life, death, marriage, martyrdom, and more. For the girls and women of ISIS, emerging literature addresses these how-to topics:how to fit in when you come to Raqqa, the ISIS-controlled city in Syria;how to behave with other women;how to act with your new … [Read more...]

Tracing the Literature of Extremist Women: Part III

With the approval and praise of their men, extremist women glorify violent jihad with words, while guarding their gender. Behind a computer screen, women can conceal their identities from everyone else, while reaching the mainstream media and the general public.As anonymous actors, using fake identities, these women may believe they are liberated to write, so long as they remain undetected, … [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...]

What We Can Learn From The Sister of ISIS Bomber “Jihadi John”?

  In an interview, the sister of the new "Jihadi John" ISIS member said her brother was once compassionate, loving and a family guy. If that's true, how did an ordinary-looking boy named Sid become a fugitive and feared terrorist? Days ago, Konika Dhar told CNN that she didn't want to believe her brother could join ISIS. Because he belonged to a normal Muslim family. He was colorful … [Read more...]

U.S. Defense Secretary Says We Will Defeat ISIS

On Sunday's GPS program with Fareed Zakaria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter declared what we all want to hear. "I think we will defeat ISIS," he told Fareed. The more poignant question is this: how can America defeat a terror group that has seemingly greater capabilities to reach and recruit Muslims worldwide?  Carter offered an overly simplistic answer: We need capable, local forces to do … [Read more...]

An Inside Look At The Film “In The Footsteps of Bin Laden”

Last week, I tuned into CNN and watched the documentary, "In The Footsteps of Bin Laden." With a counter-terrorism background, I thought I had learned everything about Usama bin Laden or UBL, for short, the world's most wanted man before the rise of ISIS and UBL's death in Pakistan. Over the years, I had watched every video recording UBL had released; read every transcript and article from his … [Read more...]

Stopping ISIS: Why The Solution Isn’t That Simple

Recently, I was asked by Al Jazeera to explain why the Muslim world has not defeated ISIS. Truthfully, this mission requires a global approach. We all understand this. But there seems to be no consensus on "how" to defeat a terror movement that clearly has some advantages over Western counter terrorism policies and practices. (One obvious example of ISIS's advantage is its robust propaganda and … [Read more...]

Do No Harm

A migrant worker from the Philippines smiles at me. She is washing dishes in my sister's home in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy Gulf country with pristine water and manmade islands. The servant is named Annie and looks to be about thirty-five years old. She is dressed in a plain button-down shirt and jeans, her thin black hair pulled back in a tie as she puts away one dish at a … [Read more...]

When Saudi Women Work

Studies have shown that all women play a significant role in rebuilding their communities and countries, particularly in post-conflict areas. Even in thriving economies and seemingly stable countries in the Middle East, some Arab women dare to call for greater rights, equality and freedom from patriarchy. In my travels to the Gulf countries, most women do not work or step outside religious … [Read more...]

Why Muslims Kill: An Inside Look at Abdulazeez

On Thursday, when a young American Muslim man killed four U.S. Marines and wounded three others in Tennessee, the spotlight was on again. Muslim scholars, terrorism experts, community members, and ordinary citizens were forced to answer the opt-repeated question: Why did this happen? How can a normal-looking boy a.k.a. the nice kid in the neighborhood turn violent? Most Muslims know that Islam … [Read more...]