Nexus

The Most Overlooked Resource in Fighting Violent Extremism? Moms.

Counterterrorism Efforts Often Fail to Engage the Families of Aspiring Jihadists, Despite Their Ability and Eagerness to Help

Ibtissam Laghwan, left, the mother of Luay Laghwan, one of two suicide bombers who carried out an attack in the Israeli town of Dimona, holds a picture of him as a child at the family house in Gaza City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. A Palestinian suicide bomber on Monday blew himself up in Dimona, the southern town that houses Israel's secretive nuclear reactor, killing an Israeli woman and wounding seven other people, Israeli authorities said. Police said they killed a second attacker before he had a chance to detonate his explosives belt. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

When 19-year-old Akhor Saidakhmetov started hanging out with two older men and talking about waging jihad in Syria, his mother took away his passport. Later, when he begged to get it back—admitting that he wanted to join the Islamic State—she …

When 19-year-old Akhor Saidakhmetov started hanging out with two older men and talking about waging jihad in Syria, his mother took away his passport. Later, when he begged to get it back—admitting that he wanted to join the Islamic State—she hung up the phone. Mothers like her may be the first, last, and best approach to stopping militant recruiters, but law enforcement often leaves them out of their counterterrorism efforts …

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