Journalist and author of Pulitzer Prize finalist If the Oceans Were Ink
Photo Credit: Nic Seely-Power
About Carla Power
As a journalist, Carla Power frequently covered stories about Muslims and Islamic culture but had never read the religion’s most fundamental text, the Quran. She decided to embark on a close-reading along with her longtime friend, Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. If the Oceans Were Ink is the chronicle of their unlikely friendship, their surprising findings, and the intersections between the Sheikh’s traditional Muslim worldview, and her own secular feminist outlook. The eye-opening book was a finalist for both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award.
Her latest book, Home, Land, Security, is a cutting-edge account of the rise of division and radicalization in all forms, both at home and abroad. Bound by their joined quest to end extremism, four mothers whose children joined ISIS and other violent jihadi groups confide in Power. She also explores how everyday citizens are working against extremism, from an American judge who pilots a risky new method of handling terror suspects, to a Canadian imam running a jihadi detox program, to a former neo-Nazi who harnesses his own experience leaving a hateful movement to help jihadis leave theirs.
In this richly reported and deeply human account, Carla Power offers new ways to overcome the rising tides of extremism, one human at a time. In 2022, Home, Land, Security was announced as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for General Nonfiction.
Whether speaking on the history of feminism in Islam or 21st century deradicalization tactics, Carla Power employs a fresh perspective to destroy long-held myths, open minds, and reveal startling connections between worlds that often seem hopelessly divided. An American who grew up in both the Midwest and the Middle East, Power speaks on the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim societies with nuance and compassion. As divisions in the United States become more pronounced than ever, she brings crucial lessons from her research on how to reframe conversations around extremists and give grassroots organizations the strategies they need to prevent domestic terrorism.
Power was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek and a contributor for Time Magazine, writing on the culture and politics of Islamic societies. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Vogue and Foreign Policy, and has earned her an Overseas Press Club award, a Women in Media Award, and the National Women’s Political Caucus’s EMMA award. She holds a graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford and degrees from Yale and Columbia. She travels to the United States frequently from England.
How to Deal with the Neo-Nazi Down The Street: Lessons from Communities Who’ve Dealt with Extremists in Their Midst
In the United States, our response to violent extremists has been pretty simple: lock them up at home, and bomb them overseas. Power has traveled to countries where grassroots activists and local police forces have worked out a third way: prevention and rehab programs that start and end in the community. In this talk, she shares lessons from communities across the world.
Making—and Unmaking—The Other: How We Talk About Violent Extremists, and What We Can Do To Reframe the Conversation
The last decade has seen a vigorous production of "Others" on the American landscape, with polarization rising and the space for civil, civic discourses fraying. What are the forces that go into the production of extremism—and how can we replace them with new ways to connect and even work constructively with people who have been radicalized?
What Can Terrorists Tell Us About Ourselves?
For the two decades after 9/11, the conventional wisdom held that terrorists were ‘out there,’ foreigners attacking the United States. That myth has been revised in recent years, with the recognition of the dangers posed by far-right extremists, both violent and non-violent. What can a nation learn about itself by looking closely at the people who wish to destroy it? How should American citizens think about terror threats today? And what do these threats say about our society, and what it should do in the future?
How Mothers Can Stop Terrorists, and Why They Shouldn't Do It Alone
The last few years have seen women—mothers in particular— saddled with high expectations by counter-terrorist authorities. They’ve been cast as first-line defenders in various wars on terror, charged with monitoring their children for signs of extremism. And indeed, women from Pakistan to France have risen to the challenge, becoming experts in helping other families spot extremism in their homes and communities. But is that a sustainable model? Power offers new strategies for supporting and reinforcing mothers in the fight against extremism.
Praise for Carla Power
Praise for Home, Land, Security
Power’s exceptionally wide-ranging research persuaded her that Americans need to stop thinking about former militants in absolutist terms like ‘good and evil’ and to take a more nuanced approach to fostering their deradicalization and preventing the backsliding that may occur during long imprisonments. . . . This book is full of valuable insights into violent extremism . . . A provocative exploration of the appeal of terrorist groups and how to counter it effectively.— Kirkus Reviews
Why do people become radicalized, and can militant radicals be rehabilitated? In this provocative and deeply reported look into the emerging field of deradicalization, Power investigates these questions, providing a compassionate look at the myriad forces driving young people into the arms of radical belief systems. . . . In these riveting, character-driven pages, Power encourages us to resist moral binaries of ‘good and evil’ as we work toward countering terrorist groups—and the loved ones held in their sway.— Esquire (Best Books of Fall 2021)
Praise for If the Oceans Were Ink
Carla Power’s intimate portrait of the Quran, told with nuance and great elegance, captures the extraordinary, living debate over the Muslim holy book’s very essence. A spirited, compelling read.— Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad
For all those who wonder what Islam says about war and peace, men and women, Jews and gentiles, this is the book to read. It is a conversation among well-meaning friends―intelligent, compassionate, and revealing―the kind that needs to be taking place around the world.— Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World
Journalist Power writes about her year studying the Quran with a Muslim scholar she befriended while working at a think tank in London. For some, this will be a strong introduction to Islam. To others, it's fodder for discussion on the Sheikh's views, how Westerners (such as Power) interpret those views and the interplay of culture and religion.— The Denver Post
Books by Carla Power
Media About Carla Power
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- Carla Power travels from England
Home, Land, Security
Deeply reported and ultimately optimistic . . . astounding . . . Power humanizes militant jihadists and offers insights into the forces that push people toward extremism. . . . Interweaving intimate character profiles and in-depth research, this is a nuanced look at a critical yet overlooked front in the fight against extremism.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)