Compassionate Counterterrorism

Compassionate Counterterrorism : The Power of Inclusion In Fighting Fundamentalism

4.36 (22 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 ineffective--it 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 and--for once--an optimistic outlook on how we can not just fight but prevent terrorism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 139 x 216 x 15.24mm | 907.18g
  • United States
  • English
  • 1523098570
  • 9781523098576
  • 1,431,897

Review quote

"This book brings a refreshing alternative to the fiction that state force is the long-term solution to terrorism. A thoughtful, personal, and impressive analysis of why a broader approach to the challenge may yield more effective long-term outcomes."
--Sir Hugh Orde, OBE, QPM, former Chief Constable, Police Service of Northern Ireland

"In a refreshing and candid style that goes far beyond conventional analyses and commonly suggested solutions, Al Olaimy delivers a powerful counterargument on how to deal with terrorism. Insightful and persuasive, her book should be required reading for those in policy circles who routinely deal with strategies to combat terrorism."
--Prof. Dirk Vandewalle, Dartmouth College

"As we face a global crisis of increased intolerance and exclusion, Leena makes a compelling case for a radical nonviolent approach to defeating terrorism that transforms our current oppressive measures into opportunities for greater peacefulness. Full of unorthodox approaches like invoking the use of religion as an antidote for violent extremism; exploring untapped collaboration between civil society, business, and the military; and even using love to demobilize a terrorist group--this is an important contribution and fascinating read that defies disciplines!"
--Kavita N. Ramdas, Director, Women's Rights Program, Open Society Foundations; Strategy Advisor, MADRE; cofounder of KNR Sisters; and former Strategic Advisor to the President, Ford Foundation

A brilliant and fresh analysis of one of the most misunderstood global problems of our age - if you read one book on terrorism, choose this one."
-- Lisa Schirch, PhD, Editor of The Ecology of Violent Extremism: Perspectives on Peacebuilding and Human Security, and Senior Policy Advisor, Human Security at Alliance for Peacebuilding

"A provocative and concise examination of why we cannot bomb our way to ending terrorism. While the author is careful not to advocate for the absence of a hard security approach, she does a masterful job at highlighting many innovations that have proven effective in reducing and transforming political violence in various parts of the world and challenges the world to do much better and to have higher aspirations."
--Craig Zelizer, PhD, founder and CEO, Peace and Collaborative Development Network; former Associate Director, Conflict Resolution Program, Georgetown University; and cofounder of Alliance for Conflict Transformation and TEAM Foundation

"An honest, comprehensive, and thoughtful critique highlighting and challenging stereotypes and assumptions about terrorism and violent extremism. A must-read for anyone involved in peace building and conflict resolution."
--Eva Grosman, CEO, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, and Director for Public Affairs, Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford

"This is an insightful book. Compassion is not a word generally associated with terrorism, but the message needs to be heard. Bravo, Leena!"
--John Marks, coeditor of Common Ground on Terrorism and founder and former President, Search for Common Ground

"It could easily be argued that compassion is the number one leadership skill. Leena's suggestion of leading with compassion provides possibility for bringing opposing forces together. It is more than time for the world to recognize our shared humanity and Leena inspires us to do just that!"
--J'Lein Liese, PhD, Managing Partner, Equanimity Leadership Solutions, and President, Foundation for Global Leadership, Inc.

Intelligent and intrepid work. Leena's effort to unearth a critical societal faultline is the first step towards building a post-fundamentalist future for our next generation.
--Tariq Cheema, Founder, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists
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About Leena Al Olaimy

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.
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Rating details

22 ratings
4.36 out of 5 stars
5 55% (12)
4 27% (6)
3 18% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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