The Guardian: Who Are the New Jihadis?

The contemporary terrorist’s brutal acts against symbolic targets are centered around his or her own death, explains author Olivier Roy in an essay for the Guardian. “Muslim tradition, while it recognises the merits of the martyr who dies in combat, does not prize those who strike out in pursuit of their own deaths, because doing so interferes with God’s will,” he writes. Roy describes jihadism as “a youth movement that is not only constructed independently of parental religion and culture, but is also rooted in wider youth culture,” one determined to decimate revered traditions. Detailed biographical details and lengthy conversations of jihadists are widely available for study, and Roy contends that the terrorism expressed by “violent radicalisation is not the consequence of religious radicalization.” Instead, the rebellious often turn to fundamentalist Islam as a path for expressing anger. Roy describes patterns common in the backgrounds of terrorists emerging from western countries – second generation, conversion, integrated, petty crime, prison, dysfunctional families, siblings as partners and a lack of religious knowledge – as well as similarities to those implicated in school shootings. Roy urges Muslims and societies to identify and understand what they are fighting. The terrorists’ view of Islam does not exist and such fantasies attract nihilists rather than the masses. – YaleGlobal

The Guardian: Who Are the New Jihadis?

Biographies of “homegrown” European terrorists show they are violent nihilists who adopt Islam, rather than religious fundamentalists who turn to violence
Olivier Roy
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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Olivier Roy is joint chair of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute, Florence. His books include Globalised Islam and Holy Ignorance.

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