The Washington Post

Maajid Nawaz: We need an al-Qaeda for democracy

It’s that time of the day again: Your lunch has it out for you. But we’re here to help you fight the good fight in those last few hours before the weekend.

It’s time for the afternoon pick-u-up.

Today’s offering comes courtesy of Washington Post intern Frank Yonkof. Thank you, Frank, and welcome to the innovations beat.

In a talk this month for TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas about technology, entertainment and design, Maajid Nawaz explains how we have entered the “Age of Behavior,” using his 13 years as a member of an Islamic extremist group.

“We need to understand the power of a social movement,” says Nawaz, arguing that democracy advocates are “falling behind” when it comes to spreading their message and issuing calls to action.

“There is no equivalent of al-Qaeda, without the terrorism, for democracy across Muslim majority societies,” Nawaz notes.

Why is al-Qaeda so apparently successful? Nawaz says there are four reasons it takes root: complacency, political correctness, political and economic collapse and the presence of an ideology of resistance.

But what do you think? Are there other reasons advocates for democracy seem to lag beind when it comes to spreading their message? The comments, as always, are yours.



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