Religious fundamentalism and radicalisation

23-03-2015

The recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the increasing number of European terrorist 'foreign fighters' highlight the need not only to reinforce the policy measures against radicalisation and religious fundamentalism but also to understand the processes of these two phenomena in the European context. Radicalisation is a complex matter that has not been defined uniformly in the social sciences. It can be seen as a phenomenon of people embracing views which could lead to terrorism, and is closely connected to the notion of extremism. Religious fundamentalism, a belief in an absolute religious ideology with no tolerance for differing interpretations, is a contributing factor to the development of radical opinions. Radicalisation is a dynamic process cutting across social and demographic strata. Recent studies seeking to understand it suggest of the need to profile the processes of recruitment, be it online or in places such as schools, mosques and prisons. The causes of radicalisation are complex, drawing from the continuing conflicts in the Middle East, the disconnectedness of large Muslim communities living in Western societies and their search for identity. The process of recruitment occurs by way of extremist propaganda spread by terrorist organisations with roots abroad, but operating in Europe. Radicalisation is a serious threat to internal security in EU Member States, who retain the main competence in this matter. The measures taken at EU level contribute to the fight against radicalisation by offering common strategies, EU-wide cooperation networks and coordination of Member States' efforts.

The recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the increasing number of European terrorist 'foreign fighters' highlight the need not only to reinforce the policy measures against radicalisation and religious fundamentalism but also to understand the processes of these two phenomena in the European context. Radicalisation is a complex matter that has not been defined uniformly in the social sciences. It can be seen as a phenomenon of people embracing views which could lead to terrorism, and is closely connected to the notion of extremism. Religious fundamentalism, a belief in an absolute religious ideology with no tolerance for differing interpretations, is a contributing factor to the development of radical opinions. Radicalisation is a dynamic process cutting across social and demographic strata. Recent studies seeking to understand it suggest of the need to profile the processes of recruitment, be it online or in places such as schools, mosques and prisons. The causes of radicalisation are complex, drawing from the continuing conflicts in the Middle East, the disconnectedness of large Muslim communities living in Western societies and their search for identity. The process of recruitment occurs by way of extremist propaganda spread by terrorist organisations with roots abroad, but operating in Europe. Radicalisation is a serious threat to internal security in EU Member States, who retain the main competence in this matter. The measures taken at EU level contribute to the fight against radicalisation by offering common strategies, EU-wide cooperation networks and coordination of Member States' efforts.