Islamist terrorism is not about religion, says Leena Al Olaimy, an Arab Muslim, Dalai Lama Fellow, and social entrepreneur. She identifies the economic, social, and political factors that are its true driving forces and offers innovative strategies to address them that have proven far more effective than military interventions alone.
From purchasing pay-per-view pornography to smoking pot, many so-called Muslim terrorists prove by their actions that they aren't motivated by devotion to religion, Leena Al Olaimy argues. So why do they really turn to violence, and what does that tell us about the most effective way to combat terrorism?
Al Olaimy sets the stage by providing a quick, thoughtful grounding in the birth of Islam in a barbaric Game of Thrones-like seventh-century Arabia, the evolution of fundamentalist thought, and the political failures of the postcolonial period. She shows that terrorists are motivated by economic exclusion, lack of opportunity, social marginalization, and political discrimination. This is why using force to counter terrorism is ineffectiveit exacerbates the symptoms without treating the cause. Moreover, data shows that military interventions led to the demise of only 12 percent of religious terrorist groups.
Combining compelling data with anecdotal evidence, Al Olaimy sheds light on unorthodox and counterintuitive strategies to address social woes that groups like ISIS exploit. For example, she describes how Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has decreased terrorism while paradoxically becoming more overtly religious. Or how Mechelen, the city with Belgium's largest Muslim population, adopted integration policies so effective that not one of its 20,000 Muslims left to join ISIS. Using religion, neuroscience, farming, and even love, this book offers many inspiring examples andfor oncean optimistic outlook on how we can not just fight but prevent terrorism.
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About the Author
Leena Al Olaimy is the cofounder of 3BL Associates, an award-winning social enterprise working on issues such as peace, climate change, and inclusive economic growth. She is a Fulbright scholar, a Dalai Lama Fellow, a Salzburg Global Fellow, a Soliya Fellow, and a Wall Street Journal "Woman of Note" and is listed among Bahrain's Most Influential Women by Business in the Gulf. Her work has been published by the World Economic Forum, openDemocracy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the Huffington Post.
Table of Contents
1 Who Is the Terrorist? 3
2 Make the Umma Great Again 17
3 Post-Colonial Hangover 31
4 Islam Made Me Do It 43
5 Poverty of Hope 57
6 Dis-Integrated 69
7 Mirror, Mirror 89
8 Counterproductive 107
9 Spiritual Counterterrorism 121
10 Radicalizing Inclusion 137
11 Can't We All Just Belong? 149
12 Show Me the Money 165
13 Peace Pays and Morality Trumps 181
About the Author 245