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Faisal Saeed Al Mutar’s first experience with Americans was during the second Iraq war when a US tank rolled up in front of his house. He shares his incredible story of growing up under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the vaccuum in his neighborhood that was filled by members of Al-Qaeda, blogging against extremism and receiving death threats as a teenager, escaping Iraq, and the ten year journey to becoming an America citizen. He discusses being taken in by a family in Virginia, why he thinks Americans are amazing people, his appreciation of the values America was founded upon – free speech, civil liberties, and freedom of religion – and the importance of the separation of powers. His is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit that seeks to prevent extremism before it takes root by translating and creating content related to the values that make people less likely to be recruited by extremist organizations. And he shares stories of the heroes he works with across the Middle East who are risking their freedom and lives to help translate content covering controversial or banned ideas, from civil rights, to women’s rights, to evolution, and critical thinking.
Full transcript available here: WiW57-FaisalSaeedAlMutar-Transcript