First colonized and now living under political oppression, experiencing marginalization, and feeling dejection and humiliation, many Muslim men in and outside Muslim countries have no opportunities to prove themselves as “honorable” or practice “masculinity” in culturally prescribed ways. Troubled and troublesome, many turn to militant jihadist networks to achieve self-actualization and heroism. Terrorist networks, acting as surrogates to national liberation and antiauthoritarian movements, further complicate these dynamics.
In Gender-Based Explosions, Maleeha Aslam argues that gender is a fundamental battleground on which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their types must be defeated. Issues of regressive radicalism, literalism, militancy, and terrorism can only be solved through people-centered interventions. Therefore, governments and civil society should promote an alternative culture of growth, self-expression, and actualization for Muslim men.
To achieve sustainable counterterrorism results, Aslam recommends emphasizing
masculine behaviour within the context of Muslim tradition and expanding the scope
of required interventions beyond those confined to Islam. Gender-Based Explosions also includes empirical data from a pilot study conducted on Pakistani Muslim masculinities.