Mothers of One Fabric

Women without Borders/SAVE will highlight the stories of mothers of victims and of perpetrators of terrorist acts to serve as a call to action to other mothers to intervene if they recognize early warning signals of radicalization among their children.

By merging the perspectives of both sets of mothers through a traveling photo exhibition and documentary film, viewers will understand the central role that mothers and families can play in combating violent extremism. Their voices carry indisputable credibility and hold serious weight, and will serve to delegitimize the demands of terrorist organizations to join the fight for a nebulous cause. The power of civil society and particularly women has thus-far been widely neglected as a factor in the fight against radicalization, but women’s placement at the nexus of family and society uniquely positions them to act as the front-line defense against the spread of harmful ideologies at the community level.

Involvement with Mothers of Perpetrators:

Women without Borders/SAVE has gathered the testimonies of mothers of (would be) perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Palestine, Pakistan, England, and France through individual discussions. These mothers, whose sons have all committed or intended to commit terrorist acts that (would have) caused enormous death and destruction, disagree with their children’s actions and are all working hard to pull their children back from radicalization and to prevent other children from traveling down the same path their own sons took. The voices of mothers of violent extremists who share the pain and suffering that their children’s actions have brought upon their families and communities—who themselves have become victims—are a powerful call to action to other mothers to be vigilant and take action if they notice that their children are exhibiting early warning signs of violent extremism. Simultaneously, sharing their pain will cause other young people who are on the verge of committing a terrorist act to think twice about the consequences of their actions and the impact it will have on their mothers and families.

Workshops with Mothers of Victims:

When mothers of victims speak up, the emotional impact of the narrative is immensely powerful and undeniably credible. The pain and anguish of a mother who loses a child is incomparable, but can also frequently serve as a catalyst to dedicate their lives to preventing other mothers from feeling such pain. The stories, for example, of Robi Damelin, an Israeli woman whose son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper; Phyllis Rodriguez, a Jewish American mother whose son Greg was killed on 9/11 as he sat in his office in the World Trade Center; and Halda, an uneducated Pakistani woman from the Swat Valley whose son and husband have been missing (kidnapped by the Taliban) for five years, show exactly how devastating the spread of violent extremist ideologies and terrorism are. These mothers’ loss and devastation are not abstract news stories from halfway around the globe, but rather are emblematic of the real, human suffering the results from terrorist acts supposedly carried out in the name of some greater goal. At the same time, the voices of these and thousands of other mothers around the globe, who have made a commitment to move from victimhood to agency and prevent other mothers from suffering the same loss, show the ultimate futility of terrorist tactics.

 In order to learn more about the workshops, click here.


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