9 Ways We Can Counter Radical Islam

Countering extremism will require a thoughtful effort.


As an Iranian-American, I often get asked about the crisis in the Muslim world. I try to lean into the conversation, knowing a lot of sincere people are grasping for solutions.

In the aftermath of the Iraq War, most Americans want to avoid creating a Vietnam-style scenario in the Middle East. We have learned that we can no longer apply colonial remedies or strong arm our enemies into submission.

As UC Davis law professor Kariam Bennoune, author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, says, “We need an unyielding and thoughtful response to jihadist terror. Moreover, the right needs to understand that force alone is not enough, and misused force can have disastrous consequences. And the left needs to come to terms with the fact that sometimes force must be used to destroy movements bent on deliberately mowing down civilians.”

In light of this, Islam and religious freedom are perhaps the most important issue of our time. We need thoughtful strategies to benefit Muslim societies.

In researching this issue, I collaborated with Dr. Emna Jeblaoui, a professor of Islamic studies and a counter-radicalism expert, whom I met through the George W. Bush Women’s Initiative. Together we developed a practical plan to promote peace and security in North Africa and beyond.

We interviewed gifted thought-leaders on radicalism: Mary Habeck (Johns Hopkins), Jennifer Bryson (Zephyr Institute), Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (Georgetown University), Mike Constantz (PEACE Plan, Saddleback Church) and Kathleen Cooke (Cooke Productions).

Their feedback is significant and should be passed on to others. It allowed us to develop nine practical ways to counter radicalism and work toward peace and security.

1. Research the root of radicalization. Look at ...

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