Synopses & Reviews
Why would a girl from Denver join ISIS, an extremist movement known for its mistreatment of women? Why would an Iraqi girl strap on a suicide vest? What does Islam say about violence? These are the questions that started Farhana Qazi on a journey around the globe searching for answers.
Qazi is a senior counterterrorism expert and the first American Muslim woman to join the Counterterrorism Center. She offers a unique perspective on what drives girls and women to violent extremism. Invisible Martyrs is an honest, eye-opening story of female radicalization and Qazi's personal journey into Islam through her counterterrorism work.
"This is an extraordinary book, written by an extraordinary woman. Qazi is a master storyteller, capturing the emotion as well as the subtleties of what she wants to communicate. And as the first Islamic member of the U.S. Counterterrorism Center, there is a lot that she wants to tell readers about."
-Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
The first Muslim woman to work for the U.S. government's Counterterrorism Center, Qazi found herself fascinated, even obsessed, by the phenomena of female extremists. Why, she wondered, would a girl from Denver join ISIS, a radical movement known for its mistreatment of women? Why would a teenage Iraqi girl strap on a suicide bomb and detonate it?
From Kashmir to Iraq to Afghanistan to Colorado to London she discovered women of different backgrounds, who all had their own reason for joining these movements. Some were confused, others taken advantage of, and some were just as radical and dedicated as their male counterparts. But in each case, Qazi found their choices were driven by a complex interaction of culture, context, and capability that was unique to each woman.
This book reframes their stories so readers can see these girls and women as they truly are: females exploited by men. Through hearing their voices and sharing their journeys Qazi gained powerful insights not only into what motivated these women but also into the most effective ways to combat terrorism--and about herself as well. "Through them," Qazi writes, "I discovered intervention strategies that are slowly helping women hold on to faith as they struggle with versions of orthodox Islam polluted by extremist interpretations. And in the process, I discovered a gentle Islam and more about myself as a woman of faith."