Islamic Political Radicalism A European Perspective by Tahir Abbas, ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. 306 pages.)

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Sajjad H. Rizvi

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Abstract

As jihadi ideology shifts from articulating a perpetual conflict against the
“far enemy” (read: the United States and its allies) and the “near enemy”
(read: the United States’ clients) within the Middle East and the wider Muslim
world to taking the conflict to the heart of the far enemy in NorthAmerica
and Western Europe, it is time for academics to take stock of what has
happened, how it has happened, and why. The “radicalization” debate, as it
is called, tries to ask the pertinent question of why some Muslim male citizens
of these “western” states feel so disenchanted, dis-integrated, and alienated
from their immediate communities that they can perpetrate such gross
acts of violence as the bombings in Madrid in March 2004 and 7/7 in London.
The challenge of such violent radicalism (and it is important to qualify
it as such, since radicalism traditionally has been a political virtue of the Left
demanding change) affects security policy as well as the integrity and dignity
of Muslim communities. Tahir Abbas, a reader in sociology at the University of Birmingham and
a leading expert on the sociology of Britain’s Muslim communities, has
assembled a vibrant interdisciplinary circle of specialists, comprisingMuslim
and non-Muslim academics and activists, to tackle this question. The collection
brings together studies in political science, political sociology (the primary
focus for the debate on radicalism), anthropology, psychology, criminology,
and related disciplines.The contributors concentrate on Britain, albeit
within a European context, and thus this book might be of value for those
studying Islamismin otherMuslim-minority contexts (particularly the United
States) and even in Muslim-majority contexts as a base of comparison ...

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