Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge in Europe

In early 2003 Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations organised a major international conference in Brussels on international terrorism, under the heading ‘Root Causes of International Terrorism’. At that moment the very notion that there existed underlying forces that shaped the context and causes that led to 9/11 looked self-evident to academics, but was still very much a taboo concept in policy circles. Research within the Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations has since revolved around two questions: first, how exactly the global environment boosts local and regional terrorism, and, second, how does this relate to the radicalisation process, which is occurring within Europe too.

Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge in Europe grew out of a series of public conferences, seminars and informal brainstormings with many stakeholders from diverse horizons involved. It is articulated around these two themes. First, it establishes the state of jihadi terrorism today, almost two decades after it started in the early 1990s. Second, zooming in on Europe, it addresses the issue of radicalisation as the main root cause of potential jihadi terrorism in this part of the world (Rik Coolsaert).

Often dubbed as a ’global threat’, most observers analyze the terrorist threat as a patchwork of self-radicalizing local groups with international contacts but without a central engine or any central organizational design. Jihadi terrorism is composed of one major root cause in an enabling global environment and a multitude of local root causes depending on the countries involved.

Focusing on the situation of jihadi terrorism and radicalization in Europe, this volume looks at the growing tendency of self-radicalization and self-recruitment of individuals. It provides both a precise state of the threat as well as a thorough analysis of the radicalization process. Aimed at an audience of policy makers, academia and think tanks, the volume combines a theoretical approach with novel thinking and ’out of the box’ policy recommendations (Ashgate).

Table of Contents

    Foreword by Gijs de Vries
    Introduction by Rik Coolsaet
    PART ONE: The State of the Threat   

  • Jihadi Terrorism: A Global Assessment of the Threat in the Post al-Qaeda Era by Paul R. Pillar
  • Jihadi Terrorism: Perception and Reality in Perspective by Rik Coolsaet and Teun Van de Voorde
  • ’New’ vs. ’Old’ Terrorism: A Critical Appraisal by Martha Crenshaw
    PART TWO: Jihadi Terrorism Around the World   

  • Logics of Jihadi Violence in North Africa by Hugh Roberts
  • Kinship and Radicalisation Process in Jamaah Islamiyah’s Transnational Terrorist Organisation by Noor Huda Ismail
  • Jihadi Terrorists in Europe and Global Salafi Jihadis by Edwin Bakker
  • The Islamist Networks in Belgium: Between Nationalism and Globalisation by Alain Grignard
    PART THREE: Radicalisation in Western Europe: The Root Causes   

  • Muslims in Europe and the Risk of Radicalism by Jocelyne Cesari
  • Al-Qaeda: A True Global Movement by Olivier Roy
  • Dutch Extremist Islamism: Van Gogh’s Murderer and His Ideas by Rudolph Peters
    PART FOUR: Radicalisation in Western Europe: The Answers   

  • (De-)Escalating Radicalisation: The Debate within Muslim and Immigrant Communities by Tarik Fraihi
  • De-radicalisation and the Role of Police Forces by Glenn Audenaert
  • The EU Response to Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism by Gilles de Kerchove and Ran van Reedt Dortland
    Epilogue: Zeitgeist and (De-)Radicalisation by Rik Coolsaet and Tanguy Struye de Swielande

Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir reaches out to Young Muslims, calls for Islamic State

{Hizb ut-Tahrir is a international Muslim organization accused of sending followers along a path toward terrorism, while its defenders claim it gives a much needed voice to desires in the Muslim community for global solidarity. Still legal but viewed with much suspicion, this article explores a secretive community that seeks to strike a balance between Islam and Western life more than its critics recognize.} By Dominic Casciani Named as a danger to young minds, but never banned in the UK – what is the message of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir? This coming weekend the global “political party” which campaigns for a single Islamic state across the Muslim world says it will be holding one of its largest-ever conferences in Indonesia. But as a warm-up, some 2,000 British Muslims arrived at London’s Alexandra Palace to hear the message from the party’s British wing. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been accused of being a critical player in a so-called “conveyor belt” towards terrorism – that its ideas are part of the problem.

UK hints at foreign policy shift

A British Cabinet minister has hinted at a change in the relationship between the UK and US. Speaking in the US, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander emphasised the need for “new alliances, based on common values”. He warned against unilateralism and called for an “internationalist approach” to global problems. Correspondents say the speech appeared to be a “coded criticism” of the policies of President George W Bush.

2007: Moving on after the veil row

The year 2006 saw much debate over Islam and multiculturalism in England. From the global row over cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper, to the public British debate over the veil, Islam and its role in European society was constantly making British headlines. So where are we heading in 2007? Jack Straw once again raised the question of the veil’s role in integration, in such a tone that even Muslims who do not veil (which is by far the majority) were threatened by the defensiveness of his words. A key test for the government in the coming year will be to see how much action is taken to follow through on its rhetoric. The government is supporting British Muslim organizations in an effort to cultivate a new generation of British-raised and British-educated Muslim leaders.

Anti-Islam Bigotry Claim: New Poll On Community Relations

A UK public opinion poll powered by global market intelligence solutions provider GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.) on behalf of the Institute of Governance, Queen’s University, Belfast/Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, and Muslim Voice UK, explores the detail of difference, agreement and shared concerns amongst UK Muslim and non-Muslim citizens. UK Muslims blame Islamophobia on the portrayal of their religion in the media, the survey revealed. The research found 40 per cent of Muslims blamed anti-Islamic feelings on the media, while almost three-quarters of non-Muslims blamed the September 11 bombings.

Denmark: Denmark Seeks To Rebuild Relations With Islam

WASHINGTON — Denmark is determined to rebuild ties to its own Muslim population and to the greater Islamic world — and may look to the United States as a model, Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen said yesterday. Denmark found itself at the center of a global firestorm after a local newspaper last fall printed a series of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. After other European newspapers reprinted the cartoons, angry demonstrations — some violent — erupted across the Islamic world — and several Danish diplomatic posts and businesses were targeted in the outburst. “I think we can learn from the United States, on matters such as integration and assimilation of our minority communities,” Mr. Petersen told a forum sponsored by the Pakistan chapter of the Universal Peace Foundation and the Ambassadors for Peace Foundation held at The Washington Times. “I think we in Denmark and in Europe generally have to become more aware of religious sensibilities. We are interested in building bridges, not burning them,” he said. The government of center-right Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has turned aside demands from some Muslim leaders for an official apology for the cartoons, saying freedom of expression and a free press are bulwarks of Danish democracy. But Mr. Petersen said Danish officials also have looked for ways to use the crisis to improve relations with the country’s Muslim minority and with Islamic states. A major conference Friday in Copenhagen brought together Muslim and Christian scholars, many of whom urged the West and Islam to come together to foster understanding and rebuild ties damaged in the cartoon controversy. At yesterday’s forum, Mr. Petersen said moderates on both sides of the global debate had to “transcend” the temptation to paint the cartoon uproar as a stark choice between pure freedom of expression and respect for religion. “Democracy is the basis of the discussion, but for us Danes, the dialogue must be based on mutual respect,” he said. “There can never be any doubt about that.” The diplomat said Danes traditionally have enjoyed frank debate, questioning authority and a reputation for tolerance, but conceded that his small country was still reeling from the fact that it was at the center of a worldwide controversy. “We Danes tend to see our country as a role model,” he said. “We never could have imagined that we would see Danish embassies burning. “We never wanted this; we never asked for it,” he added. “Some Danes do not understand the reaction, and so we get worried, we get disturbed, we get overwhelmed.” Mr. Petersen said most Muslims in Denmark are being accepted into society, although some still resist learning the language and accepting all of the country’s traditional political values. He said countries across Europe are increasingly working with religious leaders, scholars, private groups and other governments on how best to accommodate sizable Muslim populations now in Europe. He said many on the continent are looking to the American model for ideas. “Look at any European country today, and I would say they have not been as successful as the United States in this matter,” he said.

Yemen Editor Faces Death Penalty Over Mohammed Cartoons

Authorities in a number of Muslims countries have acted against newspapers for publishing the controversial Mohammed cartoons, but in Yemen a journalist may soon be fighting for his life after prosecutors demanded his execution. Yemen Observer Editor-in-Chief Muhammad al-Asadi was arrested after his English-language weekly paper published the cartoons early last month to illustrate how news reporting about their publication in European papers had sparked a global uproar. According to the paper, the cartoons were presented in “thumbnail” size, and “obscured with a thick black cross.” Nonetheless, al-Asadi was accused of violating a law prohibiting the publication of anything that harms Islam, and the government suspended the Observer’s license. Two independent Arabic-language papers are also facing legal action separately for reproducing the cartoons. Al-Asadi appeared Wednesday before a Sana’a court, where prosecutors called for the death penalty, and for the paper to be shut down completely and its assets confiscated. A report on the Yemen Observer’s website — which continues to publish although the paper edition has been frozen — said prosecution lawyers had recounted a story from the life of Mohammed in which Islam’s prophet had praised the killer of a woman who had insulted him. The lawyers argued that the same punishment should be applied in the case of those who “abuse” the prophet. “They also demanded personal financial compensation for the psychological trauma they claimed they suffered by the actions of the newspaper, which they said has impaired their ability to do their jobs and follow their normal daily lives.” The case was adjourned for two weeks. The Observer said the prosecution lawyers, of which there were more than a dozen, were being funded by Sheikh Abdel Majid Zindani, a religious leader and senior Islamist opposition party member. Zindani’s name appears on a U.S. list of suspected financiers of terrorism, and Yemeni media reported two weeks ago that Washington was urging the government to freeze his assets and prevent him from traveling abroad, in line with U.N. resolutions. A U.S. Treasury statement issued in 2004 called Zindani a loyalist of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and said the U.S. government had credible evidence that he “supports designated terrorists and terrorist organizations.” According to the State Department’s annual report on global human rights, released Wednesday, Yemen’s government does not respect freedom of the press despite a constitutional provision providing for it “within the limits of the law.” The report noted that Yemeni press laws criminalize certain criticism of the head of state, the publication of “false information” that can spread “chaos and confusion,” and “false stories intended to damage Arab and friendly countries.” “Yemen’s press freedom has been tested often lately and in the eyes of the outside world it remains a measure of the extent of democratization that Yemen would like to claim,” a contributor to another paper in the Gulf state, the Yemen Times, wrote in a column on the al-Asadi case. The media freedom lobby group Reporters Without Borders has recorded arrests of journalists in Yemen, Syria, Algeria and India for reprinting the cartoons caricaturing Mohammed, and the temporary or permanent closure of at least 14 publications in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia for the same reason. “Whatever one thinks of the cartoons or whether they should be published, it is absolutely unjustified to jail or prosecute journalists, threaten them with death or shut down newspapers for this reason,” the group said earlier.

Denmark: Denmark Makes Overtures to Muslims in Cartoon Row

Denmark has sent a video tape to Arab television stations in which Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller presents some initiatives aimed at easing global tensions over the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The message is that we have listened to reactions from abroad and now launch a number of forward-looking and constructive initiatives aimed at promoting respectful dialogue, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday.