Invisible Martyrs


From an award-winning instructor and scholar Farhana Qazi

Here comes the book guided by mercy and understanding to help us fight against the hateful narrative of violent extremism.

American scholar Farhana Qazi uses storytelling and twenty years of research to tackle extremist women and the misinterpretations of Islam. In this gripping and informative book, Qazi offers answers and hope for the future. She draws on her background as a pioneering counterterrorism professional and a devout Muslim to offer an insider’s view of what drives girls and women to join violent movements, and identifies what America and the world community can do to keep them from making this terrible choice. Through her counterterrorism work, she discovers the true practice of Islam and believes that the principles of love, mercy, and inclusion are absent from the hateful messages used by violent extremists. Here is the book that reframes the story so readers can see female extremists as they are—ordinary girls and women motivated by their own experience of oppression or manipulated by other radical men and women. The untold story of female victims and victimizers is important to understand and recognize if the world hopes to prevent the expansion of this threat.


Praise for Invisible Martyrs

“Farhana Qazi continues to serve as an ambassador between religions and cultures in difficult and violent times. Her book is a must read to separate the peaceful practice of Islam from violent extremism.”  – Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, Washington, DC

“Distorting the teachings of religion is not unique to extreme Islam in our time. We find it everywhere, and we all need to address it if we are to mend our world which is undergoing a deep moral crisis. This book focuses on women who are recruited by radical organizations who distort the teaching of Islam. I share the author’s conclusion that, as we have always seen in the past, those who have no regard for human life cannot succeed. The teachings of compassion and justice shared by all the major faiths will continue to prevail.” -Rabbi Mordecai Schreiber

“Farhana Qazi highlights the precious gift of Islam in this book, which is to bring the misguided female extremist closer to the truth and understand a religion of love and mercy.” – Jennifer Sue Parker, senior commander, U.S. military

“Farhana Qazi focuses on the importance of going local as the foundation for countering and preventing violent extremism, understanding that Muslims are the front line in the global war on terrorism.” – Stephen M. Apatow, President, Humanitarian Resource Institute

“Farhana Qazi has utilized a lifetime of studying Islam to craft a book that sheds light on a great mystery. She comes at the subject as a scholar and an American woman who spent time with Muslim women to understand their motivations. Her insights are unique. She draws on a tremendous amount of research and reflection. It is a valuable read to help understand what Islam really says and how we might prevent future violence.” -Vicky Collins, Television producer and journalist

“WUNRN-Women’s UN Report Network is based on the only UN Study on the Status of Women, Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Traditions. Farhana Qazi’s new book, Invisible Martyrs, is an authentic revelation of how Islam can be skewed by some, thus distorting core fundamental goodness of the faith of Islam, and especially for gender issues. In this complex and volatile world, women reject terrorism and conflict—they search for peace, justice, and rights. Bravo to Farhana with this most important message in her new book.” – Lois A. Herman, Coordinator WUNRN, Women’s United Nations Report Network, Geneva

“Qazi has given us a deeply personal yet acutely analytical journey into the minds of the women and girls who seek out violent extremism. Invisible Martyrs is an electrifying page-turner that should be read by everyone who wants to understand this disturbing phenomenon.” – John Horgan, senior counter-terrorism advisor to the U.S. and professor at Georgia State University 

“Informed by her own experience and personal encounters, Qazi’s book takes us inside the mindset of those who, contrary to their own religious beliefs and to society’s perceptions of women as nurturers, instead become its murderous fanatics. While avoiding the alarmist prose and political agendas that color so much of the literature on terrorism, Invisible Martyrs offers a fascinating and harrowing story. Of all the recent books on this topic, this one is an essential read.” -Brian Michael Jenkins, the RAND Corporation

“With Invisible Martyrs, Farhana Qazi turns conventional thinking upside down and forces us to ask new questions about who engages in political violence and why. A highly original, compelling, and very readable exploration of a side of terrorism we know very little about.” -Peter Mandaville, Professor of International Affairs & Islamic Studies at George Mason University and former Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry

“In her book, Qazi fights violent extremists by trying to capture the true spirit of Islamic teachings while also understanding and offering solutions to vulnerable Muslims who need to reject such messages and once again embrace a religion of peace.” -Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine

“Farhana Qazi tells the fascinating inside story of the women who are ready to die for radical Islam.” -Deborah Scroggins, author of Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror

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