A Nobel Prize for al-Qaeda?

The misguided politics of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2011, Yemeni political opposition activist Tawakkol Karman won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee made clear that they had ulterior motives bestowing such an honor upon the Islah Party activist. As the Associated Press reported at the time:

Thorbjoern Jagland, who heads the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, told AP that including Karman in the prize is ‘a signal that the Arab Spring cannot be successful without including the women in it.’” He also said Karman belongs to a Muslim movement with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, “which in the West is perceived as a threat to democracy.” He added that “I don’t believe that. There are many signals that, that kind of movement can be an important part of the solution.’”

At the time, some foreign policy analysts took issue with raising concerns about Karman’s Islah affiliation. In hindsight, their cheerleading for the pick seems unfortunate. Karman was subsequently silent, first with regard to Islamist atrocities beyond Yemen’s borders, such as the Taliban’s attempt to murder 14-year-old school girl Malala Yousafzai, who subsequently received the Nobel Prize for her outspoken advocacy beyond any political lens.

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A Nobel Prize for al-Qaeda?

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