Why The Definition of Terrorism Is Important Today

The definition of terrorism is important and should not be confused with criminals, shooters, hate crimes, and more. This month's serial bombings by Mark Anthony Conditt in Austin, Texas, which happens to be my hometown, raised questions on whether to call the violent acts 'domestic terrorism' or not. In a recent interview for IPT News, I was asked to comment on why words matter: why should we … [Read more...]

September 11 Attacks, A Day of Remembrance And Lessons Learned

For many Americans, the evil attacks on September 11, 2001 was a day of unforgettable grief. On that day, I was at one of the largest U.S. military bases, and as the only Muslim female officer, I worked around the clock to help piece together the ugly events. There was grief at the shedding of innocents' blood in the attacks of September 11 and over the death of more innocents in the war that … [Read more...]

The Afterlife Is Not For Insurgents Firing At Women and Children

  She clutched her nine-millimeter weapon as insurgents fired into the house of women and children. A team of U.S. soldiers and Special Forces operators, including a woman who I’ll call Lisa, engaged in one of the worst firefights that took place in the blue-white mountains of Afghanistan. Trapped by intense hostile fire, U.S. forces fought off a local Afghan insurgent group named … [Read more...]

How To Think Like A Terrorist And Take Preventive Measures

We live in the worst of times. We  know that ISIS is capable of another major attack which means more victims and violence. And that's exactly what happened in Manchester, London and Tehran earlier this month.   The bad news is that there will be more attacks. This is why gaining access to the 'the operational nugget' is critical.  I remember using that word way back when I was in the U.S. … [Read more...]

The Ongoing Debate: Should Muslims Do More To Stop Terrorist Attacks?

After the horrific attack in Manchester, local residents were asked to discuss their views on whether Muslims should do more to stop future terrorist attacks. This is an uncomfortable question for most Muslims because there is great disagreement on the answer. The two opinions are as follows: Some Muslims believe that they had nothing to do with the attacks in Manchester or anywhere else. Why … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Why ISIS Conducted Dual Terrorist Attacks in Iran

This morning, two terrorist attacks hit the capital city of Iran and ISIS claimed responsibility. The attacks, which took place at the Parliament building and at the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, proves that ISIS is reaching beyond traditional targets to strike fear everywhere. Why Iran? First, a few quick observations: Iran is the largest … [Read more...]

Is America The Next Target for a Terrorist Attack?

We live in a time when a terrorist attack in the United States seems real following the crazy incidents in London and Manchester. For the first time in "terrorism history," attackers have learned that they don't need sophisticated training or big bombs to strike fear in a capital city. Terrorists just need a motive and the means to kill innocent people.  The means is easy. Over the past six … [Read more...]

Terrorists Hit London Again. Why Are We Surprised?

Hours ago, the small scale terrorist-related attacks in London reminded the world community that ISIS was not lying about hitting the city. Again. After all, ISIS made a commitment to strike during the holy month of Ramadan. But even when we knew that something was about to happen, a violent attack is always surprising. Three months ago, a car and knife attack along London's Westminster Bridge … [Read more...]

The Opening to My New Book On Violent Extremism

  For those of you who missed it, the moderates and the murderers of Islam are exposed in my new next book.  Here's the opening:  For years, I dreamt of hijackings on airplanes. In my dreams, men with dark eyes wear raven-black masks and wield sharp weapons. They speak a language I vaguely understand and make plans to strike a passenger. At that moment, I rise from my seat to announce my … [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...]

Honest Writing Is Daring: Why Write About Violence

The cliche is true. Study something you love to-death and in-depth. Over the years, many people have asked me, "Why do you study violent behavior?" or "Why conflict?" On a lecture tour in Muscat, Oman, I had to tell my audience that studying violence and violent behavior chose me. (By the way, Oman is a beautiful, peaceful Muslim country. You can read more about Oman in my next post.) What you … [Read more...]

Islam Is Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Part Four

As I learned more about my faith, I began to look deeply at the profiles of violent extremists. The oft-repeated question of ‘why Muslims kill' forced me to look beyond the push and pull drivers of violent extremism.I had to humanize the boys and girls—who would become adult terrorists—to respond to the ‘why.’At work, I continued to remind other analysts and operators that most Muslims are not … [Read more...]

Islam Is Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Part Two

Can Muslims take back Islam? The simple answer is yes. Thousands of Muslims across America are speaking up for the truths that are often buried in ignorance, hatred, and religious bias. Islam is a religion of peace, compassion and mercy. -- Khaled Abou el-Fadel, professor at UCLA (California), author of The Great TheftIn his written work, Al-Fadl describes the divided Muslim community and places … [Read more...]

One Year After The San Bernandino Attack And Lessons Learned

Last December, a man and his wife shot 14 people at a holiday party in a community center in San Bernandino, California. At the time, I was in Colorado, taking calls from reporters and the media on why this happened. And more importantly, can America expect more attacks?The answer to the second question is yes. There will be more deadly attacks in America and the rest of the world. So long as … [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...]