mideast-hugsHassan Karatiya is a former Islamic militant in the Egyptian underground who traded in his bullets and bombs for a shot at success.

He was offered a small business loan to lure him back to mainstream society in exchange for a promise to abstain from violence.

The Ibn Khaldun Center leant him $300 and he now nets $2,000 a month selling fried liver sandwiches, a popular fast food, in crowded Cairo.

The center’s director says ex-militants are excellent risks. “They are imaginative and very forceful. They are not your lazy bums. These are people who are ambitious, articulate, and very high achievers.”

Mr. Karatiya’s success has led to the fulfillment of dozens more loans. This non-government program was established to get at the root cause of the rise in militant participation in Egypt: Many people are poor with no opportunities. The young people need hope to see that they, too, are part of society.

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