Jessica gives a presentation at the 2011 TEDx Amsterdam Women Conference. She reveals a revolutionary idea with the potential to transform counterterrorism. The project is aimed at amplifying the voices of former terrorists who have left their terrorist organizations.
Interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin on the meaning of Al-Qaeda’s split with the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria. Aired February 9, 2014.
Keynote lecture at the Symposium on Guilt and Shame in Amsterdam, Netherlands. January 15, 2014.
Appearance on the BBC’s NewsHour program discussing Al Qaeda’s revival and the extent to which it is linked to the Arab Spring. Aired January 3, 2014.
Margaret Thatcher famously referred to publicity as the oxygen on which terrorists depend. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as the leader of al-Qaeda, agrees, claiming that his organization and its enemies are “in a race for the hearts and minds of our umma [the Muslim community]” and that more than half the war is taking place on the “battlefield of the media.” Their goal is to spread a false narrative — that the West aims to humiliate Muslims and destroy Islam. We who aim to stop them have been slow to respond with a counternarrative — that jihadists are killing innocents, the vast majority of whom are Muslim; that they are exploiting vulnerable youth as cannon fodder; that jihad is not an adventure; and that our goal is to fight terrorists, not to harm Muslims or disrespect Islam.
So it was long overdue when the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) announced it would be launching a media campaign called “Think Again” aimed at English speakers considering joining jihadist groups. An earlier effort in Arabic, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu appears to be successful. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, involved in developing the original campaign, says, “We could see that the bad guys were watching and were concerned” that the videos could harm their recruitment drives. The new campaign signals the CSCC’s recognition that they must also target American or European would-be jihadists with Western passports.
Read Jessica’s article on Time Ideas: The War Against Terror Must Be Fought With Words Too