2016-06-30

My Year Inside Radical IslamHow does a secular Jew from a hippie town in

Oregon find himself praying for the success of extremist Muslim fighters around the world? In his new book "My Year Inside Radical Islam," 30-year-old Daveed Gartenstein-Ross describes his evolution from liberal campus activist to radical Islamist, and how an inner battle between his personal views of Islam versus the strict version he was shown led him out of danger.

His surprising journey began after a friendship with a moderate Muslim led Gartenstein-Ross to convert. A job with Al-Haramain, a Saudi-funded Islamic charity later indicted by the FBI, led him into radical Islam. Now a Christian and counter-terrorism expert, Gartenstein-Ross talked with Beliefnet about the attractions of extreme faith, the challenges of creating an authentic moderate faith, and why he still respects Islam.

Daveed Tells His Story

'My Path to Islam'

Raised by liberal Jewish parents, Gartenstein-Ross constantly searched for spirituality. A college friendship with a moderate Muslim brought him to a Sufi-inspired form of Islam. Watch »

'Faith as Submission to God'

In his search for faith, Gartenstein-Ross came to the conclusion that faith wasn't about what he wanted from God, but what God wanted from him. Watch »

'My Most Radical Phase'

A job with Al-Haramain, a Saudi-funded Islamic charity, soon tested his resolve to be a moderate Muslim. Faced with constant questioning by his co-workers, his radical conversion began. Watch »

Sitting on his prayer mat, Gartenstein-Ross began to pray for Muslims doing "jihad" in their fight against "infidels" around the world. Now his position in radical Islam was strengthening. Watch »Watch »Watch »

'My First Big Sacrifice'

When his radical cohorts wouldn't accept him until Gartenstein-Ross proved his loyalty, he made a personal sacrifice. Watch »

'Growing Disillusioned'

As he got deeper into radical Islam, his personal views of what Islam should be--the Islam practiced by his old college friend--troubled Gartenstein-Ross. Watch »

'The Convert Converts'
The events of 9/11 coupled with an inner struggle led Gartenstein-Ross to make a break from radical Islam, become a Christian, and turn informant for the FBI. So does he have any regrets? Watch »
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