Islamic terrorist attacks showed a dramatic escalation in 2015. Targeting increasingly European countries and objectives, they represent a phenomenon that we must confront and better understand. This collection of essays aims to provide insight into the origins, evolution, principal characteristics, and unique means of recruitment and financing of Islamic terrorist organisations. Moreover, it examines the diffusion of Islamic radicalisation among young Europeans and of the foreign fighters, who, in growing numbers, leave their home countries to join Daesh. Cooperation among EU member states in the fight against this threat has strengthened following the Paris attacks. Nonetheless, the EU’s response has been late and feeble thus far. Much remains to be done in order to put in place measures capable of facing the direct menace and reducing the risk of radicalisation.
It is an undeniable fact that the issue of terrorism, both as a theoretical area of analysis and as a practical phenomenon, has grown exponentially in significance over the past few decades. Indeed, terrorism has for some time stopped being a term solely discussed in academic settings and in strategic documents, but has recently been introduced in our everyday lexicon in ways that are far more profound than in the past. Put more simply, in understanding the extremely intricate nature of today’s international affairs, the analysis of the concept and praxis of terrorism no longer belongs to an obscure area of study, and has developed into an urgent necessity, as a means of exploring how to respond to the phenomenon in an appropriate manner.
As the illustrative examples of the rise of al-Qaeda and Daesh and their expanded global landscape of terrorist attacks indicate, this dual realisation that terrorism has unequivocally become a part of our reality and that its analysis has become more urgent than ever is particularly true of what has been widely termed as “Islamic fundamentalist terrorism”. Due to the kaleidoscopic interests involved in it, the multifarious dynamics that have been at play in the region from which it has primarily originated, and the multiplicity of its actors, methods and cause, Islamic terrorism has come to the fore of our attention in spectacular fashion, necessitating consistent and rigorous analysis.
This book is focused precisely on this area. Covering a wide range of pertinent aspects and referring to the causal links and history behind this strand of terrorism in various countries of the world, this book intends to provide an in-depth look at the rise and evolution of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Divided into three parts, the first one focusing on the Middle East and Africa region, the second one on the recruiting methods, financing and propaganda instruments used by Islamic terrorist organisations, and the last part on the evolution of the phenomenon in a select few European countries, it attempts to answer some of the very basic questions surrounding this very important topic.
What are the causes behind the phenomenon? What are its principal methods of recruiting and financing? What are the primary challenges in designing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to tackle it? Why has it spread in the Middle East and Africa? What explains its presence in Europe? These are all relevant questions into which this book attempts to offer much needed insights, aimed to aid our shared understanding concerning the past, present and future of Islamic terrorism. What is more, and perhaps more crucially, drawing from the analysis, it also provides a set of conclusions with a view to assisting the reader to better comprehend what is needed in order to minimise the future ramifications of this strand of terrorism and severely undermine its future dynamics.
Foundation for European Progressive Studies
and Fondazione Italianieuropei