Can We Really Prevent a Viral Terrorist Mindset?

Friday, January 15, 2010 - 4:30 am

Can We Really Prevent a Viral Terrorist Mindset?

Ed HusainAs I’ve listened to all the noise around intelligence- gathering and airport security in response to the attempted Christmas Day terrorist act, Ed Husain’s voice has been ringing in my ears. Not that we don’t need to think about intelligence and security — we do — but do we spend a corresponding amount of energy and planning on how to prevent a viral terrorist mindset that is a feature of our time?
That’s the world Ed Husain knows, and narrowly escaped from. Al Qaeda, he says, is not the real enemy the West and most Muslims in the world have in common. Here’s what he means by that:

“… It must be said that al-Qaeda is just a name. It’s really a mindset that we must be tackling — a literalist, rejectionist, Islamist worldview. And not necessarily al-Qaeda as an organization because that can become defunct, but those ideas still remain. So it’s not a war on terror as the American government has gone out of its way to suggest, but it’s actually a battle of ideas.”

We’re putting Ed Husain’s introduction to that battle of ideas on the air again this week. His insights have never felt more relevant, illuminating, and prescient.

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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