The BBC Television Drama Sensationalizes the Muslim Female Terrorist

The new BBC television drama called "The Bodyguard" sensationalizes the Muslim female terrorist. The hit-drama that drew in millions of viewers opens with a nervous, scared and seemingly innocent female bomber--yes, she wears a suicide belt with a trigger in her hand--on a busy train. Anjli Mohindra played Nadai in the drama--the finale which was watched by 11 million people. (Image below) You … [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...]

Today Islam Is Still Misunderstood, Misappropriated and Misinterpreted. Why Is This True?

Today, Islam is still misunderstood, misappropriated and misinterpreted. Why is this true? Recently, I was asked to give a talk to US government officials and someone commented on a question I presented in my talk: Is Islam a violent religion? (Obviously, the answer is no.). The official in the audience stated that there is a sizable group of Americans who do believe that Islam is violent, … [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...]

So Much To Be Thankful For As An American Muslim Woman: 5 Observations from Women in Conflict

There's so much to be thankful for as an American Muslim woman. Over the past few days, I spent some time thinking about the hundreds of women who have shaped me, especially women in conflict and war.  In earlier posts, I have written about women in protracted war; women in violent extremism featured in my new book; and the strong women in my life. When I look back at my research for the past 15 … [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...]

The Meaning of War Narratives and The Roles Men and Women Play in War

Every week, in my Gender Conflict & Security class at The George Washington University, I introduce new concepts and themes on war narratives and the different roles men and women play in war. It's a seemingly complex subject because war--and prolonged conflict--is always changing, which means that the women inside them are forced to adapt to new realities.  The reality of losing a missing … [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...]

A Prayer For The Victims of September 11th and All Terrorist Attacks

I remember the September 11th terrorist attacks clearly and before I can answer what I was doing, I offer a prayer for the victims, which include innocent American Muslims. That day is unforgettable, as it is for most Americans who were old enough to recall. As a young analyst in the U.S. Government, I happened to be on a military base when I watched the planes shatter glass and destroy thousands … [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...]

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