Karima Bennoune: The side of terrorism that doesn’t make headlines

Karima Bennoune: The side of terrorism that doesn’t make headlines

Could I protect my father from the Armed Islamic Group with a paring knife? That was the question I faced one Tuesday morning in June of 1993, when I was a law student. I woke up early that morning in Dad’s apartment on the outskirts of Algiers, Algeria, to an unrelenting pounding on the front door. It was a season as described by a local paper when every Tuesday a scholar fell to the bullets of fundamentalist assassins. My father’s university teaching of Darwin had already provoked a classroom visit from the head of the so-called
Islamic Salvation Front, who denounced Dad as an advocate of biologism before Dad had ejected the man, and now whoever was outside would neither identify himself nor go away. So my father tried to get the police on the phone, but perhaps terrified by the rising tide of armed extremism that had already claimed the lives of so many Algerian officers, they didn’t even answer. And that was when I went to the kitchen, got out a paring knife, and took up a position inside the entryway. It was a ridiculous thing to do, really, but I couldn’t think of anything else, and so there I stood. When I look back now, I think
that that was the moment that set me on the path was to writing a book called “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight
Against Muslim Fundamentalism.” The title comes from a Pakistani play. I think it was actually that moment that sent me on the journey to interview 300 people of Muslim heritage from nearly 30 countries, from Afghanistan to Mali, to find out how they fought fundamentalism peacefully like my father did, and how they coped with the attendant risks. Luckily, back in June of 1993, our unidentified visitor went away, but other families were so much less lucky, and that was the thought
that motivated my research. In any case, someone would return a few months later and leave a note on Dad’s kitchen table, which simply said, “Consider yourself dead.” Subsequently, Algeria’s
fundamentalist armed groups would murder as many as 200,000 civilians in what came to be known as the dark decade of the 1990s, including every single one of the women that you see here. In its harsh counterterrorist response, the state resorted to torture and to forced disappearances, and as terrible as all of these events became, the international community largely ignored them. Finally, my father, an Algerian
peasant’s son turned professor, was forced to stop teaching at the university and to flee his apartment, but what I will never forget about Mahfoud Bennoune, my dad, was that like so many other Algerian intellectuals, he refused to leave the country and he continued to publish pointed criticisms, both of the fundamentalists and sometimes of the government they battled. For example, in a November 1994 series in the newspaper El Watan entitled “How Fundamentalism Produced a Terrorism without Precedent,” he denounced what he called the terrorists’ radical break with the true Islam as it was lived by our ancestors. These were words that could get you killed. My father’s country taught me in that dark decade of the 1990s that the popular struggle against Muslim fundamentalism is one of the most important and overlooked human rights struggles in the world. This remains true today, nearly 20 years later. You see, in every country where you hear about armed jihadis targeting civilians, there are also unarmed people defying those militants that you don’t hear about, and those people need our support to succeed. In the West, it’s often assumed that Muslims generally condone terrorism. Some on the right think this because they view Muslim culture as inherently violent, and some on the left imagine this because they view Muslim violence, fundamentalist violence, solely as a product of legitimate grievances. But both views are dead wrong. In fact, many people of Muslim heritage around the world are staunch opponents both of fundamentalism and of terrorism, and often for very good reason. You see, they’re much more likely to be victims of this violence than its perpetrators. Let me just give you one example. According to a 2009 survey of Arabic language media resources, between 2004 and 2008, no more than 15 percent of al Qaeda’s victims were Westerners. That’s a terrible toll, but the vast majority were people of Muslim heritage, killed by Muslim fundamentalists. Now I’ve been talking for the last five minutes about fundamentalism, and you have a right to know exactly what I mean. I cite the definition given by the Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas, and she says that fundamentalisms, note the “s,” so within all of the world’s great religious traditions, “fundamentalisms are political
movements of the extreme right which in a context of globalization manipulate religion in order to achieve their political aims.” Sadia Abbas has called this the radical politicization of theology. Now I want to avoid projecting the notion that there’s sort of a monolith out there called Muslim fundamentalism
that is the same everywhere, because these movements
also have their diversities. Some use and advocate violence. Some do not, though they’re often interrelated. They take different forms. Some may be non-governmental organizations, even here in Britain like Cageprisoners. Some may become political parties, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and some may be openly armed groups like the Taliban. But in any case, these are all radical projects. They’re not conservative or traditional approaches. They’re most often about changing
people’s relationship with Islam rather than preserving it. What I am talking about is the Muslim extreme right, and the fact that its adherents are or purport to be Muslim makes them no less offensive than the extreme right anywhere else. So in my view, if we consider ourselves liberal or left-wing, human rights-loving or feminist, we must oppose these movements and support their grassroots opponents. Now let me be clear that I support an effective struggle against fundamentalism, but also a struggle that must itself respect international law, so nothing I am saying should be taken as a justification for refusals to democratize, and here I send out a shout-out of support to the pro-democracy movement
in Algeria today, Barakat. Nor should anything I say be taken as a justification of violations of human rights, like the mass death sentences handed out in Egypt earlier this week. But what I am saying is that we must challenge these
Muslim fundamentalist movements because they threaten human rights across Muslim-majority contexts, and they do this in a range of ways, most obviously with the direct attacks on civilians by the armed groups that carry those out. But that violence is just the tip of the iceberg. These movements as a whole purvey discrimination against religious minorities and sexual minorities. They seek to curtail the freedom of religion of everyone who either practices in a different way or chooses not to practice. And most definingly, they lead an all-out war on the rights of women. Now, faced with these movements in recent years, Western discourse has most often offered two flawed responses. The first that one sometimes finds on the right suggests that most Muslims are fundamentalist or something about Islam is
inherently fundamentalist, and this is just offensive and wrong, but unfortunately on the left
one sometimes encounters a discourse that is too politically correct to acknowledge the problem of
Muslim fundamentalism at all or, even worse, apologizes for it, and this is unacceptable as well. So what I’m seeking is a new way of talking about this all together, which is grounded in the lived experiences and the hope of the people on the front lines. I’m painfully aware that there has been an increase in discrimination
against Muslims in recent years in countries like the U.K. and the U.S., and that too is a matter of grave concern, but I firmly believe that telling these counter-stereotypical stories of people of Muslim heritage who have confronted the fundamentalists and been their primary victims is also a great way of countering that discrimination. So now let me introduce you to four people whose stories I had the great honor of telling. Faizan Peerzada and the Rafi Peer Theatre workshop named for his father have for years promoted the performing arts in Pakistan. With the rise of jihadist violence, they began to receive threats to call off their events, which they refused to heed. And so a bomber struck their 2008 eighth world performing arts festival in Lahore, producing rain of glass that fell into the venue injuring nine people, and later that same night, the Peerzadas made a very difficult decision: they announced that their festival would continue as planned the next day. As Faizan said at the time, if we bow down to the Islamists, we’ll just be sitting in a dark corner. But they didn’t know what would happen. Would anyone come? In fact, thousands of people came out the next day to support the performing arts in Lahore, and this simultaneously thrilled and terrified Faizan, and he ran up to a woman who had come in with her two small children, and he said, “You do know there
was a bomb here yesterday, and you do know there’s a threat here today.” And she said, “I know that, but I came to your festival with my mother when I was their age, and I still have those images in my mind. We have to be here.” With stalwart audiences like this, the Peerzadas were able to conclude their festival on schedule. And then the next year, they lost all of their sponsors due to the security risk. So when I met them in 2010, they were in the middle of the first subsequent event that they were able to have in the same venue, and this was the ninth youth performing arts festival held in Lahore in a year when that city had already experienced 44 terror attacks. This was a time when the Pakistani Taliban had commenced their systematic targeting of girls’ schools that would culminate in the attack on Malala Yousafzai. What did the Peerzadas do in that environment? They staged girls’ school theater. So I had the privilege of watching “Naang Wal,” which was a musical in the Punjabi language, and the girls of Lahore Grammar School played all the parts. They sang and danced, they played the mice and the water buffalo, and I held my breath, wondering, would we get to the end of this amazing show? And when we did, the whole audience collectively exhaled, and a few people actually wept, and then they filled the auditorium with the peaceful boom of their applause. And I remember thinking in that moment that the bombers made headlines here two years before but this night and these people are as important a story. Maria Bashir is the first and only woman chief prosecutor in Afghanistan. She’s been in the post since 2008 and actually opened an office to investigate cases of violence against women, which she says is the most important area in her mandate. When I meet her in her office in Herat, she enters surrounded by four large men with four huge guns. In fact, she now has 23 bodyguards, because she has weathered bomb attacks that nearly killed her kids, and it took the leg off of one of her guards. Why does she continue? She says with a smile that that is the question that everyone asks— as she puts it, “Why you risk not living?” And it is simply that for her, a better future for all the Maria Bashirs to come is worth the risk, and she knows that if people like her do not take the risk, there will be no better future. Later on in our interview, Prosecutor Bashir tells me how worried she is about the possible outcome of government negotiations with the Taliban, the people who have been trying to kill her. “If we give them a place in the government,” she asks, “Who will protect women’s rights?” And she urges the international community not to forget its promise about women because now they want peace with Taliban. A few weeks after I leave Afghanistan, I see a headline on the Internet. An Afghan prosecutor has been assassinated. I google desperately, and thankfully that day I find out that Maria was not the victim, though sadly, another Afghan prosecutor was gunned down on his way to work. And when I hear headlines like that now, I think that as international troops leave Afghanistan this year and beyond, we must continue to care about what happens to people there, to all of the Maria Bashirs. Sometimes I still hear her voice in my head saying, with no bravado whatsoever, “The situation of the women of Afghanistan will be better someday. We should prepare the ground for this, even if we are killed.” There are no words adequate to denounce the al Shabaab terrorists who attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on the same day as a children’s cooking competition in September of 2013. They killed 67, including poets and pregnant women. Far away in the American Midwest, I had the good fortune of meeting Somali-Americans who were working to counter
the efforts of al Shabaab to recruit a small number of young people from their city of Minneapolis to take part in atrocities like Westgate. Abdirizak Bihi’s studious 17-year-old nephew Burhan Hassan was recruited here in 2008, spirited to Somalia, and then killed when he tried to come home. Since that time, Mr. Bihi, who directs the no-budget Somali
Education and Advocacy Center, has been vocally denouncing the recruitment and the failures of government and Somali-American institutions like the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center where he believes his nephew was radicalized during a youth program. But he doesn’t just criticize the mosque. He also takes on the government for its failure to do more to prevent poverty in his community. Given his own lack of financial resources, Mr. Bihi has had to be creative. To counter the efforts of al Shabaab to sway more disaffected youth, in the wake of the group’s 2010 attack on World Cup viewers in Uganda, he organized a Ramadan basketball tournament in Minneapolis in response. Scores of Somali-American kids came out to embrace sport despite the fatwa against it. They played basketball as Burhan Hassan never would again. For his efforts, Mr. Bihi has been ostracized by the leadership of the Abubakar
As-Saddique Islamic Center, with which he used to have good relations. He told me, “One day we saw the imam on TV calling us infidels and saying, ‘These families are trying to destroy the mosque.'” This is at complete odds with how Abdirizak Bihi understands what he is trying to do by exposing al Shabaab recruitment, which is to save the religion I love from a small number of extremists. Now I want to tell one last story, that of a 22-year-old law student in Algeria named Amel Zenoune-Zouani who had the same dreams of a legal career that I did back in the ’90s. She refused to give up her studies, despite the fact that the fundamentalists battling the Algerian state back then threatened all who continued their education. On January 26, 1997, Amel boarded the bus in Algiers where she was studying to go home and spend a Ramadan evening with her family, and would never finish law school. When the bus reached the outskirts of her hometown, it was stopped at a checkpoint manned by men from the Armed Islamic Group. Carrying her schoolbag, Amel was taken off the bus and killed in the street. The men who cut her throat then told everyone else, “If you go to university, the day will come when we will kill all of you just like this.” Amel died at exactly 5:17 p.m., which we know because when she fell in the street, her watch broke. Her mother showed me the watch with the second hand still aimed optimistically upward towards a 5:18 that would never come. Shortly before her death, Amel had said to her mother of herself and her sisters, “Nothing will happen to us, Inshallah, God willing, but if something happens, you must know that we are dead for knowledge. You and father must keep your heads held high.” The loss of such a young woman is unfathomable, and so as I did my research I found myself searching for Amel’s hope again and her name even means “hope” in Arabic. I think I found it in two places. The first is in the strength of her family and all the other families to
continue telling their stories and to go on with their lives despite the terrorism. In fact, Amel’s sister Lamia overcame her grief, went to law school, and practices as a lawyer in Algiers today, something which is only possible because the armed fundamentalists were largely defeated in the country. And the second place I found Amel’s hope was everywhere that women and men continue to defy the jihadis. We must support all of those in honor of Amel who continue this human rights struggle today, like the Network of Women
Living Under Muslim Laws. It is not enough, as the victims rights advocate Cherifa Kheddar told me in Algiers, it is not enough just to battle terrorism. We must also challenge fundamentalism, because fundamentalism is the ideology that makes the bed of this terrorism. Why is it that people like her, like all of them are not more well known? Why is it that everyone knows
who Osama bin Laden was and so few know of all of those standing up to the bin Ladens in their own contexts. We must change that, and so I ask you to please help share these stories through your networks. Look again at Amel Zenoune’s watch, forever frozen, and now please look at your own watch and decide this is the moment that you commit to supporting people like Amel. We don’t have the right to be silent about them because it is easier or because Western policy is flawed as well, because 5:17 is still coming to too many Amel Zenounes in places like northern Nigeria, where jihadis still kill students. The time to speak up in support of all of those who peacefully challenge fundamentalism and terrorism in their own communities is now. Thank you. (Applause)


99 thoughts on “Karima Bennoune: The side of terrorism that doesn’t make headlines”

  • Zionism is the root couse of all of this…. every terrorist ever interviews refered to palestine and the injustices. ignoring the elephant I'm the room isn't gona make it go away. the occupation of palestine makes terrorists and Fox News ect makes the rest

  • dear lady you are confusing yourself and everyone around you. What do you mean fundamentalism is the problem? I am a fundamentalist with regards to science. Do I go and kill and murder people. Fundamentalist Jains who follow the Jain philosophy walk barefeet so as to not kill ants or other insects. Just name the 1400 year old 800 pound Gorilla. ISLAM = ignorance an violence. And stop saying your father wanted to live islam like was lived by his forefathers. I doubt the islam of his forefathers was any less violent, if at all must have been more violent.

  • lol another Muslim apologist. The problem is Islam, stop it, just stop it. It is this dogmatic belief that is keeping Arabs and others in this horrible state of violence and oppression. The only way to free them it remove the cancer of religion. It doesn't matter that most are "moderate", they still acknowledge that the religion these "fundamentalists" adhere to is legitimate – even if they do not agree with methods. Moderates enable these movements and give them credibility. 

  • This take was very nice. To anybody who insists on blaming Islam and organized religion in general for the woes in the Middle East, I understand your reasons for believing this, and in part, you're right. I as much as any atheist think the world can be a better place without religious ideas influencing the world's minds. Still, this woman is genuine and wishes well for the world. If the road to a world without religion involves first curbing extremist excesses and promoting religious moderation, I am happy to support that cause. Anybody who thinks that combating fundamentalism is best approached through radical atheism, ESPECIALLY in a religious environment such as the Middle East, is absolutely delusional. Religion can't die overnight, it's too strong and entrenched an institution for that. Besides, the issues in the Middle East go beyond just religion, there are also many social and political factors at play!

  • "The problem with Islamic fundamentalism lie with the fundamentals of Islam." – Sam Harris.

    There would be no problem with the strict execution of a set of teachings if the teachings themselves are fine, like say, those of Jainism. We don't see Jain fundamentalists chopping heads off, declaring war on unbelievers everywhere, etc. That would be ridiculous. So stop pretending "fundamentalism" itself is the problem.

  • Being from Israel with all the chaos going on, I found this ted talk really eye opening. Not because it was news to me, but because it needed to be said.

  • Religion is like a knife. It's how you use it that matters. The problem is multiplied when ANY religion nominates wrong leaders who can misguide the followers.

  • TheIcelandicPrincess says:

    It really struck me when she said how she was suddenly woken up to loud knocks on her door and how she just automatically was ready to defend her home and loved ones.

    To live in a place like that and still refuse to leave? That is bravery. 

  • She is just asking you to notice that Fundementalism is affecting mostly the powerless people who live under its threat, who are mostly Muslims. So stop saying that muslims are trerrorists or advocate terrorism, because if your daughter gets killed, you wouldnt love the killer, let alone support him.

  • Neptunenotdead says:

    This talk specifically looks exactly like a UN meeting— bunch of blabla but world gets shittier as we watch this video.

    Save yourself the time – This lady is nothing but an undercover fundamentalist disguised as the good American woman who thinks she knows everything about human rights.

    Hurry up lady I still hear bombs falling… and they're coming from your side of the fence

  • George Washington says:

    I cant help but be void of sympathy for Islamic culture.  The era(s) of their providing anything fruitful to the world has ended, and has been over for hundreds of years.  Maybe Islam isn't "inherently violent", but it's close enough.  Empty of value to the civilized world, and fucking dangerous; that's what I think of Islam. 

  • People who take up arms against ordinary Muslim civilians are Khawarij (Excluded: not muslims any more!). They work for saitan

  • The elephant in the room is guns. Do you think these extremists could do anything without an endless supply of MK47s and ammo? Who sells them these guns? Who makes the guns and ammo for them? The US, Russia mainly followed by Israel.

  • BORING! the side of terrorism that doesnt make headlines.

    who created trained and funded the Islamic Terrorist Network? the Central Intelligence Agency.

    what is the goal of Terrorism? to strip us of our rights and to justify Fascist policies both domestic and internationally.

  • So, so much hate on the comments here. She's not trying to convert you to Islam, she's not advocating Jihad, she's not even asking for money, she's simply asking you to consider muslims as human beings. Is that so hard? There will always be Muslims in this world and we need to learn to live with them and not taint them all with the same brush as the extremist and fundamentalist. Don't forget Christians have plenty of blood of their hands too, just ask the natives of America, South America, Australia and just about every country in Asia.

  • 12345ISIS12345 says:

    'Some people believe that there is something inherently violent and fundamental about Islam and this is just wrong an offensive'.

    Death to the infidel, death to the apostate, kill the nonbeliever wherever you find him.

    Sounds pretty violent to me.

  • This is an interesting point of view..I have always wondered what makes fundamentalism attractive..what makes someone say "that's a good idea.. I'll join!"..I think its more about power.. and I wouldn't be surprised if they target recruit the poor and uneducated !

  • I cannot help but see how the author is struggling with her own Muslim identity and the definition of fundamentalism.
    First she says that the Right is wrong by saying that all Muslims are fundamentalists and that Islam is inherently violent and then she says that fundamentalists are against LGBT.
    Well, I am sure that the majority of Muslims are against acceptance of LGBT rights which makes them, according to her, fundamentalists WHICH  contradicts her claim that majority of Muslims are NOT fundamentalists.

  • I would love to see more Muslims standing up against the extremist in this fashion.  Those brave men and women deserve more coverage then the extremists.  Those who paint religion with violence should not be seen as their spokesmen. 

    I am a Christian and a fiscal conservative btw.

  • Ms Bennoune exhorts the government (presumably the US government) to challenge fundamentalism.   The problem of challenging fundamentalism cannot be solved without first identifying it.  The current Executive Branch of the US government is allergic to identifying Islamist Jihadism for what it is.  They have created euphemisms and PC terms as straw men so as not to offend Islamic lobbies and special interest groups.  Academia is equally guilty when they cancel speaking engagements of Muslim authors who wrote books of their personal experiences of victimhood at the hands of Islamist Jihadism.  If the USG will surrender truth and facts to political correctness, then counter-fundamentalism will remain counterterrorism – an exchange of bullets instead of an exchange of ideas.

  • This the exclusionary view to Muslim moderate currents   is the best argument for increasing extremism agianst Western imperialism, which consider it self spirit presence

  • I think Karima chooses examples that are not too horrific to prevent us from having too emotional a response.  Clever.

  • solution?

    ban all religion. there's no good religion.

    religion = delusion and ingorance and both are threat to society

    by the way, feminism is sexim, just as machism is.

    Don't cry for poets nor pregnant mom killed by fundamentalist.

    Cry for all human who died in the hand of others humans for killing a fellow humans is the worse crime ever.

    Using the pain and guilt within peoples to get support is just propaganda.

    why do they want to focus the attention on one aspect of the issue?

    No murder is worse than an other. all murder are wrong. Debating on which is worse is just childish "boohoo i'm the victim".

  • Unfortunately, this supposed 'small number of fundamentalist extremists' does not actually seem to be so small.

  • Fanatic Atheism and fanatic religion are 2 sides of the same spectrum. Both are hyperbolic and intrusive. Stop arguing, it is a disservice to your intelligence. 

  • sergio constanza says:

    Terrible evidences. Sorry, but raising a puppet show will not stop the jihadists. Public unity and acts might. Be agressive and let them know are crazier then them.

  • Mansour Kaddissi says:

    AWESOME. Can we get married and/or run away together???? Oh, and I have a simple solution to such situations. EVERYONE'S interpretation of EVERY "so-called" holy book is WRONG. So stop it, all of you… You're welcome.

  • As an ex muslim let me tell u this: this women, either has never read quran, or she is a shameless hypocrite!
    The scripture in all the abrahamlic religions are hateful and misogynistic! It calls for global war on other religions and non-believers!
    What misrepresentation??!!
    The Only honest muslims are the Taliban, Al Qaida, ISIS and the Wahabis!
    As long as we dont face the source of all evil: the abrahamic scriptures, as long as we condone hypocrites and lairs like this, we will never know peace!!

  • Terroristic groups control Americans not with a knife to the throat, but with tv, sports, pop-culture, debt, and advertising.

  • Rutvik Shukla says:

    Alright.. so there is too many people now professing the superiority of atheism. Though I am agnostic by choice, I dont believe this world would be better in the lack of religion.

    Till the time we dont reach a state of complete equality: equal distribution of resources (and happiness), faith is what keeps the world running. Perhaps here in the west it may seem that we are not far from equal, there is minimum wage.. adequate number of jobs.. but unfortunately in a lot of places we dont have this convenience. I grew up in India, and though it might be better off than a lot of other places, I've seen true poverty and suffering. There are times when there is no way out of certain circumstances.. poverty being one, you can try all the possible permutations from a point forward in the life of an impoverished family and a couple of generations down the road you still wont have a chance of them truly being able to sustain themselves. The reality is brutal, religion is an analgesic, an anesthetic if you will. Lack of hope is torment, and hence I believe atheism is a luxury for the fortunate. It may well be true that there is no God, but we dont need to enforce it on people who need god to survive. 

    A lot of religions teach its wrong to take ones life.. well if not for that, lots of times people would see no point in keeping on living… In truth, I believe we need religion as much as we need science. Because science is an educated persons tool. We need science to move forward, perhaps some day our advancements in science might solve peoples problems and perhaps that day forth we'd have no need for a god. But not yet.

    The love of my life left me, I can't go a single day without wondering whether she would still be with me had been different in my conduct towards her. If I could let myself believe in a god, I could find solace in thinking everything happens for a reason and god has better plans for me.. but the uncertainty of the truth is painful. Yet people are facing harsher realities every single day..We sitting here in our comfortable air conditions homes might debate on the validity of religion but out there, faith in a god is a poor mans reason for survival.

  • What frightens me the most is seeing Christians post comments like
    . They openly ignore the fact that Christianity has only recently become "peaceful" – and by recent, I mean in the last few decades. They ignore the fact that they were responsible for millions upon millions of deaths throughout history simply because of religious differences.

    Instead of being a good, understanding person, they denounce over 1 BILLION people as ignorant or evil, simply because of the actions of a few. Largely, these people all live in impoverished 2nd and 3rd world countries, with very little access to what we in the west take for granted: advanced healthcare, schooling, stable governments, trade, career advancement, technology, the internet, etc.

    Yet how can they(Muslims) help but have a larger proportion of extremists when they see the western world and all it COULD do to help, but doesn't? How can they help but be jealous of it, and to covet it? How also, can they shrug off the years and years of wars funded(in part) by the west? How can they ignore the fact that their religious holy land was taken from them at the end of WW2 and given to the Jews? I don't list these questions as justifications; instead, view them as starting points in understanding, and points keep in mind when offering help.

    1.5 billion people just want to live happily. Only a few(perhaps no more than a million) think that happiness can be forced or stolen.

  • Whenever you take away basic human rights from people, they need spiritual strength to survive in a harsh environment. Karima does not want to say that,in Algeria, the ruling Junta cancelled a democratic election in 1990 in a fair vote, with the help of their French Colonial Masters, her father was possibly part of the coup carried out by the Junta that worked with Military to over throw the elections. Republican Party in USA is more fundamentalist as compared to any other Muslim democratic parties, they killed over a million innocent people in Iraq. Israel is a racist and Zionist fundamentalist state continuing its Genocide of Palestinians since 1923..

  • Karima, thank you for telling us of these heroes. Bless them.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good persons to do nothing.

  • None of those poor martyred muslims defied the jihadis using islamic scriptures (Koran, hadith, etc.) therefore they won't succeed. Islam needs to be reformed again to be truly peaceful,

  • Afnan Mahusain says:

    This one of the Zionist ideology to create a mess among our humanity…STOP spreading wrong information. for those who still misconception regarding whatever religion you practice, you better do some research on it because i believe you are not dumb enough to accept whatever others people perspectives. PEACE…

  • Jamal Piruzdelan says:

    she is telling the truth, I am an Iranian and I can tell you she is telling the exact stories that right now is happening in Iran.. I believe in her hundred percent, smart lady …..hands up from Iran …. thank you

  • I don't agree with her definition of "fundamentalisms" at all. It's a contradiction in that are you saying the holy scripture was written by Allah or by ancient middle eastern men who wanted to control the establish government for their own agenda purely from a belief system of righteousness? Either your religion is a big metaphorical story or absolute truths from historical events from the past. You can't have it both ways.

  • When you could Only find a kitchen knife… did you not wish you could have went for a Gun.??
    It is always Best to be able to defend yourself with the Most effective tools.

  • I think that thinking of fundamentalist islamists as you would other far right groups like the fascists of european countries, and i really like how she enbraces the fight against these groups; by making the groups who fundamentally oppose them stronger, this is a very important lesson, as the fight against dangerous fundamentalists in the middle east (and elsewhere) has so far been fought with weapons rather than knowledge. The standing discourse even among many of my university buddies is that there are few fundamentalists, but the general population of their countries accept them. I think that we as westerners need to change our worldview to accomodate this, before we are able to truely help the population of these countries, rather than just fund the next group to take power.

  • islam is not any more of a problem then all religion is.
    like most if not all religions Islam is inherently good but subject to manipulation.
    like Say burning a non Christian alive at the stake system one else can take their stuff under the guise of religious righteousness or convincing a kid to strap a bomb to his chest to act as a weapon under the guise of a religious conflict.

  • great speech, totally agree – i believe, that after hundred of years all religion start to change, lost its quality. Its our duty to learn and share carefully. Iam a Buddhist and it happend also in my religion

  • At 2:22: 200,000 civilian were killed including the 20 women; [shows the women's pictures]. Yea, this is definitely women only problem. Typical feminist. I wonder how many men of those 200,000 were killed, willing to bet its > 99%.

  • Well out of 82,090 viewers at this point, it's clear that 150 of them are terrorists.  Why else would they but thumbs down on this?  Enough said.

  • Not all Muslims kill people there is a type of Islam I don't remember the name but in that type of Islam the believe that they need to kill the infidels which are anyone who dosent believe in their faith

  • The people of the USA are the most ignorant on earth. They are sheep among the sheep, and despite their state being the biggest terrorist the world has seen in thousands of years, ready to do anything to maintain itself in a state of constant warfare to keep the military-industrial complex afloat, they keep pointing their fingers at a religion. The name Al Qaeda was invented by the CIA during the 80's, no such group existed back then, it was just a CIA database, a bunch of names thrown together because they called each other sometimes. Now Al Qaeda is used to make the elimination of any target they want in the middle east legal, all they have to do is put them on the list, and they can legally be killed from a drone strike any time for any reason. By the way, today in the united states citizens can be detained indefinitely, have their houses searched and their property taken for unlimited amounts of time, and they can be legally tortured, all they have to do is put you on a list which is not only classified but at no point subject to public scrutiny.
    And how about assassinating the democratically elected presidents of free countries that aren't pro US to replace them with pro US dictators ? Isn't that terrorism ? What about Fallujah ? How about using tons of depleted uranium ammunition in Iraq, just for the sake of it, well now Fallujah has the highest baby malformations rate of the world, with people worn with two heads, or no eyes, or three eyes, or no skin…. That's not terrorism ?
    But no. What we need is more anti Muslim hatred, to generate more enemies to the US, to help them keep generating more wars to create more hate and more enemies… Its all about the same people staying in power and the people feeling like they have it after all….

  • Wow, so much ignorance and bile.

    It seems the bulk of respondents here didn't bother viewing the video.

    A couple of points.
    1. Jews, Christians & Muslims worship the same God.
    2. Jesus is a prophet in Islam (Mary/Maryam's virgin birth and all)

    Don't believe me? Check it out before telling me you know better.

  • Yes, and no. I think the speaker sees Islamic culture as a subculture within dominant Muslim culture. And so has grouped together all religiously based groups as right wing and fundamentalist. They are not. Therefore, she cannot bring herself to call secularism in the Middle East, a fundamentalist movement. Merely anti-democratic. When it is inherently right wing, and religious fundamentalism merely takes on right wing appearance, when they could be socially leftist. And it is the right wing nature of secular suppression of religious and political differences, that resulted in the right wing response of fundamentalist religion. That's not apologising for terror. That is highlighting the social roots of terror. Often, the people she praises are fortunate beneficiaries of elitist structures.

  • I stopped listening at 2:30 when the speaker decided to show women's portrets only as the martyrs. Thats blatant femiscist agenda to show the faces of women only whereas they were undabtedlu a tiny minority among the martyrs.

  • Karima is good to draw our attention to the brave opponents of extremism. However, these people were ineffectual. And now they are mostly dead. The intolerant ones dominate the faithful main stream and set the agenda in Islam-dominant lands. Karima complains that critics think something's inherently bad about Islamic teaching — well, there is, and critics who read those teachings are not shy to say so. She says critics are wrong to think most Muslims are fundamentalists, as in "extreme right wing." Well, by design, definition, and fact Islam is indeed a retrograde system. Not merely conservative and reactionary, it seeks to roll back the clock, rejecting innovation or reform by law. The fantasy of a Golden Age and a Caliphate are textbook reactionary examples. Islam is bad for the world. The proof of this is abundant. It's a variety of fascism, disguising itself as a "religion." What to do? Take the piss out of it. Use humour, scrutiny, and ridicule. It's the right thing to do. These are not hostile methods, despite foul claims. As for the window-dressing rituals (bending over, rinsing feet, shuffling around a black box, reciting memorized incantations to hex the proverbial outsider), no one cares about these — though I hate the ritual slaughter of goats. It's just plain sick, obviously. And it is sooo Iron Age.

  • With all due respect i strongly disagree that there is nothing inherently violent abt Islam or any other religion for that matter. It's not surprising that beheading and stoning are punishments for doing rather menial tasks like picking up sticks on a wrong day, anybody with a sane mind could tell that these "books" came from a 6th century goat herder who did not have the privilege to know and understand the world like we do now, thanks to modern science we now have much sophisticated ways of dealing with things but it's sad to see that people choose to stick with their dogmatic beliefs rather than take the risk of eternal damnation, this fear is what these extremists feed off and use it for their own geopolitical and monetary gains, terrorism is a way to keep that fear alive in hearts of masses. They guarantee a happy after life if you listen to them cus if u dont well you are pretty much screwed for eternity and if that does not scare you they drop bombs and fly planes into skyscrapers .So to all you 'good' religious people out there YOU are their target audience because they think that you would belive just about any thing so quit fighting over trivial issues like who's fairy tale is more real or who's leprechaun is more divine, take the trouble of thinking for yourself and critically .Science is still trying to answer the most bending questions that religion pretends to answer. Biggest problem with any religion is that it demands faith which is another way of saying "just belive it, dont ask any questions".Yes, world without faith becomes infinitely complex and exciting which makes us curious and curiosity is mankinds first step towards a better world.

  • montgomery scott says:

    as Lenon say imagine not religion too, religion is not the root of all evil, but is the root of a lot of evil, and drag a lot of people in to ignorance and despair, religion poison everything.

  • The leaders of the fundamentalist bloodthirsty FIS where protected and sheltered by the US,France,UK ,Saudis…. during the whole period(90's) when their troops where committing unprecedented crimes .History keeps on repeating itself ,doesn't she?!

  • For the record: I don't think that muslim culture is inherently violent, but I do think that islam is inherently violent. Many muslims keep their humanity against the islamic tenets, but when fundamentalists take it to the letter of the religion of war and subjection that islam is, it does get violent. Therefore it is very import to make people aware of the fact that islam is a religion that glorifies violence and makes it a holy right or duty. As long as people do not understand that the islamic religion itself encourages violence, nothing can solve this problem.

  • Golgotha_Mythos69 says:

    The most powerful antidote to  muslim fundies AND christian fundies is the spread of education. We don't need more "boots on the ground", we need more books on the brain!

  • alishamseddine says:

    My full respect to the great speaker Karima Bennounce who has the knowledge, experience, and honesty in presenting conflicting thoughts and insights.

  • I got 5 mins in and was overwhelmed by the groundwork this islamopheliac apologist was laying for the barbaric  savage cult she is still very much a part of..   she is nothing more than a PR guru for islam and the hate and destruction it evokes and just because a few ignorant sheeple in the middle east are still clinging to it like a rafter from a sinking ship because they have neither the moral compass nor intellect to discard it  we should applaud them for there piety.. the only way to combat islam is to accept the truth about it and that is that for 1400 years it has brought nothing but death and destruction to all it touches..

  • True Muslims who understand what real Islam is are the most hurt by terrorist acts..People blame Islam when Islam is the first victim 🙁

  • OK the definition of fundamentalism is actually religious manipulation for political means. Wasnt that done since ancient times ?

  • Erlendur Hákonarson says:

    listen to the woman, she has a point
    but no violence can be resolved by violence, we of the Viking nation know that to well
    You have to sit down and listen to one another, note I did not say talk but listen

  • Erlendur Hákonarson says:

    the only thing she fails to talk about is that the US fundamentalism is its own oil and other power related sources that so far have been oversees

  • God has made life sacred. Killing is absolutely prohibited except for self-defense and to fight back oppression:

    [Final Testament/Quran 17:33] You shall not kill any person – for God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.
    [Final Testament/Quran 4:29] O you who believe, do not consume each others' properties illicitly – only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted. You shall not kill yourselves. God is Merciful towards you.
    [Final Testament/Quran 2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship God freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
    [Final Testament/Quran 8:39] You shall fight them to ward off oppression, and to practice your religion devoted to God alone. If they refrain from aggression, then God is fully Seer of everything they do.
    [Final Testament/Quran 2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

  • Krishnan Unni Madathil says:

    There is a reason for the name ‘Boko Haram’ – it literally means books are forbidden. I suppose in a benign world they’d be calling for a paperless world but no, these guys are anti-education. All that funding terror, kidnapping girls, armed jihad all against the basic idea of children going to school and reading.

    The best response to Boko Haram – books are forbidden – would be a reading movement called Boko Tamam – books are excellent!

    There is little point struggling against fundamentalist Islam without questioning the very tenets of the doctrine – any doctrinal creed, be it a monotheistic one or a socio/communist one, will have the same outcome. God is really not the problem here.

  • Krishnan Unni Madathil says:

    The problem with Islam is that it has married spiritual goals inextricably with political goals. Jihad or holy war is a fundamental tenet of Islam which has, objectively, zero spiritual reasoning and 100% political ambition. The proclaimed superiority which Muslims express over their God over others naturally leads to resentment, intimidation of others and violence when the opportunity arises. The distinction between Dar Al Islam and Dar Al Harb is also a political distinction.

    This marriage between religion and politics, fundamental to Islam, worked for it when their earthly conquests were on the ascendance. Now it has come right to bite them in the rear end. Similar is the case with Christianity and Communism as well. The danger to Islam is that, the backlash against its political aims will end up throwing the spiritual part of it into oblivion as well. The fundamental problem with Islamic societies today is that they are based not on mutual trust between individuals but on a doctrine. The political aspect and the spiritual aspect of the doctrine act as a sort of cover for each other, feeding off of each other when the time so demands. The lack of a spiritual angle to communism is why it folded so fast, historically speaking. Sans a spiritual angle, Islam would fall today as rapidly as Communism.

  • Krishnan Unni Madathil says:

    Is religion or religiosity strictly the problem? To the extent it does not stay a strictly private matter for individuals and families and forces its way into relations between individuals in society in strictly temporal transactions, it will always be.

    The West really is involved in the Middle East because of the events of 9/11, and before that because it was, like any Third World region, an arena of the Cold War. There is today not one state in the entire stretch of the Earth between Pakistan and Morocco that can be called a stable, safe, free, democratic society. No, not even Tunisia. Democracy, or as they understand it, majority rule, in any of these countries would sound the death knell for the minorities in these countries, which is why it is in the interests of the minorities to continue to support the dictatorships. In truth, the region is much more “modern” under dictatorships than under what could be called popular governments. It is a sad choice to vouch for.

    And before you say Israel and blame all of Middle East’s problems on it, let it be reminded that it is a tiny stretch of mostly desert land. It is an ethnic state and its democratic credentials are alternately questionable. But it is the only functioning non-despotic state in the entire region. And the Palestinian cause, as dear as it is to region, is not the biggest item in state expenditures. It probably points to the very Middle Eastern practice of scapegoating – anything is responsible but the main perpetrator.

    There seems to be a struggle in Islamic societies all across the world to graduate it from clerical societies to non-clerical societies. In Europe, similar struggles led to the Thirty Year’s War. Who knows, we may be witnessing the Thirty Years’ War of our time.

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