Karima Bennoune’s talk – sharing stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities – was a highlight of TEDxExeter 2014, and has now been featured on TED.com and watched by more than 1.25m people. She has recorded a video update for us.
She didn’t dream that the battle would be even harder now, against the ideology of IS. Has the West stood with the people within the Muslim countries that are fighting these fundamentalisms? They have continued to cosy up to the Gulf states. Meanwhile, the UK has become an exporter of jihadists. Karima’s contacts in the US are standing against fundamentalists in their own US cities. Her contacts in Algeria have been beaten for displaying a banner listing the names of women killed. The authorities are silencing their people.
Karima asks us to raise our voices in their support, and to continue to share her original TED Talk. One of her stories was about Amel, a women killed in Algiers for studying law. Amel’s mother died recently. There was little healing for her, where there is no justice and little opportunity for remembrance. But hope (which is the meaning of Amel) lives on when stories are shared.
Karima’s father wrote an open letter: “Your movement is the negation of reason, democracy, common sense and Islamic universal values. It is doomed to fail.” We need to work together to make this so.
Karima has felt much anger this year, at the atrocities and at the Western response. She has written a poem “Why I hate Islamic State”, a gut-wrenching conclusion.