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Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror

Recorded on November 15, 2006

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Why are so many Muslims embracing jihad and cheering for al-Qaeda and Hamas? Why are even the modern, secularized Arab states such as Egypt producing a generation of angry young extremists? Author Nonie Darwish seeks to answer these and other questions so puzzling to Western civilization.

When she was eight, her father died while leading Fedayeen raids into Israel. Her family moved back to Cairo from Gaza, where they were honored as survivors of a "shahid" - a martyr for jihad. She grew up learning the same lessons as millions of Muslim children: to hate Jews, destroy Israel, oppose America, and submit to dictatorship. Darwish became increasingly appalled, however, by the anger and hatred in her culture, and in 1978 she emigrated to America. Since 9/11 she has been lecturing and writing on behalf of moderate Arabs and Arab-Americans. Extremists now denounce her as an infidel.

In her book, Darwish speaks out against the dark side of her native culture - women abused by Islamic traditions; the poor and uneducated mistreated by the elites; bribery and corruption as a way of life. She rejects a culture of bigotry and argues that the only hope for the future is for America to continue waging the War on Terror, seeding the Middle East with the values of democracy, respect for women, and tolerance for all religions.