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...]

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...]

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...]

An Interview Translation With France’s Most Wanted Woman

An original translation of an interview with Hayat Boumedienne, the wife of Abu Bashir al-Ifriqi, is provided (bel0w). The interview was published in Dar al-Islam, the French-language magazine of the Islamic State, issue no.2. (Note: Abu Bashir's real name is Amedy Coulibaly, the dark-skinned man who attacked a Kosher super market in Paris in  January 2015 and then subsequently shot by French … [Read more...]

Tashfeen Malik, The Female Terrorist We Should Have Known

Every time a woman participates in a terrorist attack, analysts and authorities (and curious journalists) look back. We search for clues, trying to find the 'tipping point' to explain how and when a seemingly normal-looking (girl or) woman turns rogue. In San Bernardino, when Tashfeen Malik gunned down 14 people, the media began to look for new ways to understand female terrorists. Some … [Read more...]

Losing Islam: When Female Radicals Join Violent Groups

Bob Shacochis fictional book, set in Haiti and the rumination of death, can easily be used to describe the hundreds of girls and women who joined the Islamic State or ISIS. Did they lose their soul? Or just want to belong to something much bigger than themselves? A cause greater than life, itself? So much of my research over the past 15 years on why (Muslim) women kill or join violent groups has … [Read more...]