Being a former radical jihadist, Manwar Ali experienced firsthand the manipulation that goes into recruitment for such groups, which he explores in his speech on peace for TED.
To start out, he separates the extremist definition of jihad from the right one, explaining that the latter means, "To strive to one's utmost. It includes excretion and spirituality, self-purification and devotion. It refers to positive transformation through learning, wisdom and remembrance of God." He clarifies that jihad only means fighting under strict conditions, which are within rules and limits.
Throughout his speech on peace, Manwar Ali explains that the wrong idea of jihad is being promoted by radical groups, making for a powerful message that even he once identified with. Elaborating on this, he describes his war-torn childhood in Bangladesh during the 1970s. Surrounded by brutal violence at an impressionable age, Manwar Ali wanted to fight the oppression he experienced. When looking for guidance, he found radicalism. Relaying his experience, the peace activist describes how he started to question the ideas he once subscribed to.
With this, he advises those who might be drawn to extremist groups to leave their hatred behind and "regain their hearts and restore them by filling them with human values that heal." In addition, he highlights the severe importance of critical reflection in these circumstances.
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