Former Al-Qaeda Recruiter: Can Secularism Be Salvaged?

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Former al-Qaeda propagandist Jesse Morton, center (Photo_ Flickr/New America)
Former al-Qaeda propagandist Jesse Morton, center (Photo_ Flickr/New America)

Clarion’s PVE co-director, Shireen Qudosi speaks with former Al-Qaeda propagandist Jesse Morton on the jihadi response to coronavirus. In a new podcast series dedicated to Clarion Project’s Preventing Violent Extremism training program, Qudosi explores how Islamist supremacists will view America’s toilet paper panic.

In the hour long podcast, the two also discuss:

  • Divergent narratives between the East and the West.
  • How extremists will use a global pandemic to demonize the enemy, and how this ties in with conspiracy theories and end-times rhetoric.
  • Why secularism is broken and whether it can be salvaged.
  • Every crisis is an opportunity for both sides.
  • In the West that means breaking away from broken models of polarized leadership, and why safe centrism doesn’t work either.

Jesse Morton is founder and head of Parallel Networks, an organization combating hate and extremism, and research coordinator for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s Against Violent Extremism Network in North America. Once a prominent radicalizer in the West, Morton co-founded and was chief propagandist of Revolution Muslim, a New York City-based group active in the 2000s, where he helped insert the narrative of Al-Qaeda and Salafi-jihadist ideology into the American ambit.

He has lectured at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University (Saudi Arabia) and Sunderland University (Morocco), and worked at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism focusing on issues such as jihadist propaganda.

Morton was named one of Foreign Policy’s 2017 Global Thinkers.


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