chapter  10
16 Pages

Islamic radicalism in Europe

ByFARHAD KHOSROKHAVAR

Islamic radicalism in Europe has had a longer history than in the US. This is particularly true in France, where Islamic radicalism first began to appear in the early 1990s. However, Islamist terrorism does not occur in Europe in a vacuum. European societies have a tradition of terrorism based on the extreme leftist ideology (such as the Red Brigades in Italy, Direct Action (Action Directe) in France, and the Red Army Group (Fraktion Roter Armee) in Germany) or nationalist-regionalist tenets (such as the Basque movement in Spain, the Corsican movement in France, and the former Sin Fein in Northern Ireland). The emergence of Islamist terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon in this part of the world. Still, some converts to this new Islamist ideology believe in a utopian role of Islam in the same fashion that the middle-class leftist youth idealized Marxism and Communism in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, since much of that leftist discourse has been exhausted in the eyes of most Europeans, Islamism appears to be taking its place.1 In addition to appropriating some concepts from leftist ideology, Islamic radicalism borrows some features from extreme-right Western movements as well, protesting the loss of patriarchal values and the disappearance of stable family through the eclipse of women’s traditional role as mothers and wives.