Islamism: Nature, Ideology and Tactics
Islamism is defined as the conviction that Islam should determine not only the private sphere but also social and political life. The interpretation of Islam that underpins this project is a fundamentalist one, based on a rigid dichotomy between good and evil that provides a normative framework both for the governance of Muslim communities from within as well as their relations with non-Muslims. At the same time, the means to reach these aims are flexible and adapted to the circumstances, for instance whether they apply to a Muslim-majority context or to one in which Muslims constitute a minority.
What is the spectrum of Islamist thought and what are the tactics Islamists adopt? How do they differ in the West and in Muslim-majority countries? Is it possible to fight societal polarization by deconstructing their narrative? And how should public authorities react to the threat they pose while remaining committed to liberal democratic values? This panel will deal with these and other questions from both a European and a Middle Eastern perspective.
Rashad Ali is a researcher and practitioner. He is a Resident Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and works on deradicalisation initiatives with prisons, probations, UK courts, police and community groups. He was formerly a national leadership member of the Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir and has been actively involved in undermining its extreme ideology and perversion of Muslim faith since his departure. Rashad Ali is classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and modern studies in Islam. He studied at the al-Azhar University in Cairo and at the Markfield Institute.
Marwa Farid currently holds the position of Country Representative for the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD-Myanmar). She has more than twelve years of experience working in international organizations on democracy support, political party development, prevention and countering of violent extremism, civic engagement, human rights and gender. As a researcher, she has focused on political Islam, Jihadi terrorism and transnational organized crime. Her work has covered Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Jordan, Myanmar, the Netherlands and Denmark. Marwa Farid holds a master’s degree in Security, Terrorism and Insurgency from the University of Leeds.
Dr. Florence Bergeaud-Blackler is a senior researcher within the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is part of the "Society, Religions, Secularism" Group at Université Paris Sciences et Lettres. Holder of a doctorate in anthropology, she specializes on the study of Islamic norms in a secular context. She has been inspired in particular by pragmatic sociology and the economy of conventions to analyze the relationships between economy, religion and politics in a globalized world. This research led her to study the processes of Salafi indoctrination that, combined with political logic, neo-liberal, post-modern markets, promote the establishment of halal ecosystems. She also wrote about Muslim Brotherhood groups and ideology in her recent book "Le Frérisme et ses réseaux" (Odile Jacob).
The event will be held in person at the WZB with the possibility for interested guests to join online; the Zoom link will be provided after registration.
The event is part of the Event Series "Islam and Liberalism in Contemporary Society".
The event will be recorded. The data protection notice on photo and film recordings can be found here.
The WZB is wheelchair-accessible.