Skip to main content Accessibility help

Antecedents of Islamic Political Radicalism Among Muslim Communities in Europe

  • Akil N. Awan (a1)

Recent years have witnessed a rapid proliferation of radical Islamist activity in western Europe, from MI5's claim in 2006 of 30 incipient “terror plots” and 1,600 individuals under surveillance, to actual terrorist atrocities in European cities, the most infamous and deadly of which included the transport network bombings in Madrid in 2003 and in London in 2005. Concomitantly, both the media and the wider social discourse have been rife with self-appointed punditry and a plethora of commentators pontificating on European radical Islam's putative causal factors and remedies. This paper will attempt to address the complex issues by providing a fuller, more nuanced understanding of some of the causes and antecedents of Islamic political radicalism among western European Muslims.

Hide All


Akhtar, N.2003. The Biraderi. BBC Radio 4, August 26.
Atran, S.2004. “Soft Power and the Psychology of Suicide Bombing.” Global Terrorism Analysis 2 (11): 13.
Awan, Akil N.2007. “Virtual Jihadist Media: Function, Legitimacy, and Radicalizing Efficacy.” European Journal of Cutural Studies 10 (3): 389408.
bin Laden, Osama. 1996. “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.” Al Quds Al Arabi, August. (January 3, 2001, no longer available).
Buckser, A., and SD Glazier, eds. 2003. The Anthropology of Religious Conversion. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
Bunt, Gary. 2003. Islam in the Digital Age: E-Jihad, Online Fatwas and Cyber Islamic Environments. London: Pluto Press.
Cantle, T.2001. Community Cohesion: a Report of the Independent Review Team. London: Home Office.
Clarke, T.2002. Report of the Burnley Task Force. (October 12, 2005).
Conway, Flo, and Jim Siegelman. 1978. Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Denham, J.2002. Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion. London: Home Office.
Department for Education, and Skills. 2003. Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Ethnic Minority Pupils. London: Department for Education and Skills.
Dodd, V., J. Vasagar, and T. Branigan. 2003. “Polite and Caring Sons who Turned to Terror.” The Guardian, May 2.
Durkheim, E.1897. Suicide: A Study in Sociology. Trans. J.A. Spaulding and G. Simpson, 1952. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
European Monitoring Centre on Racism, and Xenophobia. 2003. The Fight Against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Bringing Communities Together. Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.
Farrar, M.2005. “Leeds Footsoldiers and London Bombs.” Open Democracy, July 22. (October 14, 2005).
FCO, and Home Office. 2004. Young Muslims and Extremism, April 6. (November 9, 2005).
FOSIS. 2005. The Voice of Muslim Students. London: Federation of Student Islamic Societies, (October 14, 2005).
Haykel, B.2005. “Among Jihadis, a Rift Over Suicide Attacks.” New York Times, October 12.
Hefner, R.W.2005. “Modernity and the Remaking of Muslim Politics.” In Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization, ed. R.W. Hefner. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
International Institute of Strategic Studies. 2004. Strategic Survey 2003/4. London: International Institute of Strategic Studies.
Johnson, A., S. Carrell, and J. McGirk. 2003. “The War On Terror: Is This The First Evidence Of A Suicide Bomb Plot In Britain?Independent on Sunday, November 30.
Kennedy, D.2005. “Labour Election Fraud ‘Would Disgrace a Banana Republic’.” The Times, April 5.
Leiken, R.S., and S. Brooke. 2005. “Al Qaeda's Second Front: Europe.” International Herald Tribune, July 15.
Lewis, Bernard. 1994. The Shaping of the Modern Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press.
McGrory, D., and Z. Hussain. 2005. “Cousin Listened to Boasts about Suicide Mission.” The Times, July 22.
Modood, T.2005. Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
MSANEWS. 1996. “The Ladinese Epistle: Declaration of War (I).” October 12. (no longer available).
Oakes, Penelope J., S. Alexander Haslam, and John C. Turner. 1994. Stereotyping and Social Reality. Oxford: Blackwell.
Office for National Statistics. 2003. The UK Population: By Religion, April 2001. (July 12, 2005).
Ouseley, H.2002. Community Pride, not Prejudice—the Ouseley Report on Bradford. Bradford: Bradford Vision.
Pape, R.A.2005. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. New York: Random House.
Peach, C.2004. “Britain's Muslim Population: An Overview.” In Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure, ed. T Abbas. London: Zed Books.
Ritchie, D.2001. Oldham Independent Review. North West: Oldham Independent Review Panel and Government Office.
Roy, Oliver. 1994. The Failure of Political Islam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Song, M.2003. Choosing Ethnic Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Stack, S.2004. “Emile Durkheim and Altruistic Suicide.” Archives of Suicide Research 8 (1): 922.
Strategy Unit. 2003. Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market. London: Cabinet Office.
Taarnby, M.2004. “The European Battleground.” Global Terrorism Analysis 2 (23): 12.
The Home Office. 2005. “Preventing Extremism Together” Working Groups. August–October 2005. (October 13, 2005).
TUC. 2005. Poverty, Exclusion and British people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Origin. Trades Union Congress, March 10, (November 18, 2005).
Turner, John C., Michael A. Hogg, Penelope J. Oakes, Stephen D. Reicher, and Margaret S. Wetherell. 1987. Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory. New York: Basil Blackwell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed