In this Wednesday, April 7, 2021 file photo, a firework explodes as Nationalist and Loyalist rioters clash with one another at the peace wall on Lanark Way in West Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Troubled geography: Part I

Critical State

This week’s Critical State, a foreign policy newsletter, takes a deep dive into the dynamics and forces that led some to radicalization in Northern Ireland.

An angry mob storms the US Capitol building.

US Capitol attack exposes depth of America’s problem with white extremism

People gather for a vigil to remember victims of the mass shootings at Dayton and El Paso and hold placards that read, "We can end gun violence," in Brooklyn, New York.

Obama-era extremist programs don’t tackle white nationalism, expert says

A man sits on a couch in his living room.

‘Maybe we need more God in prisons’ to curb radicalization, says one former extremist

Global Politics
A surfer falls from his board while riding after sunset in Cardiff, California.

The radicalization of a surfer dude

A conservative Saudi Arabian cleric has said women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems

Meet the Saudi woman who ignited a firestorm when she got behind the wheel


Challenging prohibitions on driving in Saudi Arabia is no easy task.

Laura Passoni took her four-year-old son to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS and realized quickly she'd made a terrible mistake. "From that moment I did everything to try to leave so that my son wouldn’t become a terrorist,” she says.

A Belgian woman explains why she joined ISIS, and why she came back


Laura Passoni went to Syria to join the ISIS terror group, taking along her 4-year-old son. She soon realized: “I made a very bad mistake.”

Mubin Shaikh

He traveled to Syria to study Islam. He came back de-radicalized.


Canadian Mubin Shaikh says his upbringing in Toronto was pretty typical. But at age 18 he had an identity crisis.

"When you are pregnant you have pain and afterwards you have a baby that's there but when your baby died you have pain but are left with nothing." Saliha Ben Ali, 49, mother of 19-year-old Sabri Ben Ali, who died in Syria in December 2013. She's the lead

These mothers lost their sons to ISIS. What have been their next steps?


Devastation doesn’t even begin to describe the grief parents of these children feel.

Christianne Boudreau lost her son Damian to ISIS. Now she's offering support to parents who've also lost their children to jihadi extremism.

‘They look at our children as monsters, and they’re not,’ argues mom of ISIS fighter


Christianne Boudreau’s son Damian died fighting with ISIS in Syria last year. Now she’s reaching out to other parents, coping with jihadist radicalization.