Should we air interviews with extremists?

In a live Facebook Q&A in November, CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward answered questions about her 60 Minutes report on pro-ISIS British citizens


The following is a transcript of correspondent Clarissa Ward's live Facebook Q&A:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: Why do you think so many in the West, and especially in the news media, are reluctant to take people like those profiled in your story at their word?

Clarissa Ward: Thank you for your question! When you look at the way Choudary uses rhetoric and manipulates facts and historical events for his own polemics, it's difficult to trust a lot of what he says. At the same time, one shouldn't dismiss him or people who espouse the same ideology as him as mere blowhards. There are obvious potential dangers there, which can be seen by the fact that many of his followers are currently locked up.

Katrina B.: What do you say to people who think giving them airtime just furthers their cause?

Clarissa Ward: A lot of people disagree with giving people like Choudary airtime, and I think that there is a legitimate debate to be had about that. But ultimately, it comes down to this: We are seeing the spread of a toxic ideology across the world that promotes the West, and particularly the U.S., as the enemy. How does it make sense to ignore people who espouse this ideology? Surely, it's important to lay their views on the table so that people can listen to them and judge for themselves how the world should deal with this issue. I don't see how anyone benefits from silence and, in fact, it can be dangerous.

Wayne F.: Are moderate Muslims willing to take a stand against extremists like this?

Clarissa Ward: Absolutely, most moderate Muslims want nothing more than to see the back of ISIS and its supporters. The problem is that there isn't a lot of cohesion among the Muslim community as to how this should be done. There is no Pope or single religious leader in Sunni Islam who can dictate how Muslims should respond. I also think some Muslims are tired of having to apologize the whole time for people who they don't even view as being proper Muslims.

Stephie D.: Although you did not look it at all (you are so brave), were you at all scared during that interview?

Clarissa Ward: I wasn't scared, but I certainly felt insulted and intimidated at times. He accused me of having the blood of Muslims on my hands, of being a propaganda agent for the government. And he spoke to me with disdain -- that's not easy to stomach.

Elaine M.: Don't you find the Islamic extremists in the West, who are recruiting ISIS fighters, [to be] a very dangerous situation for the world? How can we deal with these extremists?

Clarissa Ward: Most western countries are currently grappling with how to deal with this problem and there's no clear cut answer. Some want to lock these men up and send them to jail. Others have tried taking away their passports. And then there are programs that have been established to try to prevent radicalization. Denmark has a jihadi rehab program of sorts. So there are lots of options on the table that are being tried out, but no easy answers!

To learn more about Clarissa Ward's insights on Islamic extremists in London, watch the 60 Minutes Overtime segment, "Face-to-face with an extremist."

Read through the entire Facebook Q&A: