A Jihadi Threat Against Europe?

A Jihadi Threat Against Europe?

Friday, 5 May 2017 - 11:00am to 6:30pm
European Studies Centre
Aurelie Daher (Deakin Fellow, St Antony’s College)

A Jihadi Threat Against Europe?​

A workshop sponsored by the European Studies Centre (St Antony’s College),

the Maison Française d’Oxford, and the Oxford/Sciences Po Research Group (Oxpo)

Several European countries, including France, Belgium, and Germany to name a few, have been targeted in the last few years by a series of jihadist attacks, carried out in most cases by young men claiming to defend certain notions of Islam. Governments, experts, scholars, but also the wide public, have been engaged since in a vast debate over how to deal with this relatively recent phenomenon on the European continent. With most of the attackers being “home grown”, a question as to whether their acts were on the call of foreign networks or organisations – first and foremost the Islamic State -- was raised. Others pointed out that regardless of whether jihadist milieus outside Europe had any planned agenda against European populations, what could be seen as signs of a “frustration” within European Islam needs to be addressed as a real socio-economic problem. Some, finally, see in these bursts of violence only isolated, local incidents, carried out by “lone-wolves,” and do not consider that they necessarily reveal any social, structural dysfunction.

Whatever the viewpoint, academic, sociological analysis has its word to say, to answer crucial questions regarding the sociology of jihadists and the various Islamic, ideological backgrounds that inspire their attacks; and also to shed light on connections, if any, between European jihadist networks and their Middle-Eastern mother organisations. The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars from various parts of the world into a shared reflection on a form of violence taking place on European soil. Using a cross-disciplinary approach that brings together history, sociology, political science, jurisprudence, as well as different area studies, a common, transversal effort will shed light on the social dynamics of jihadism in Europe.    

The programme for the day is set around two panels. The first, titled “Defining a Strictly European Issue?”, and including Gijs de Vries (Council of the EU /LSE), Prof. Bernard Rougier (Université Paris III/Sciences Po), and Dr. Nafees Hamid (University College London) will deal with the Jihadi phenomenon in Europe, focusing on the processes of religious radicalisation and the different interpretations that can be attributed to the phenomenon.

On the second panel, “A European Answer to a European Form of Violence?”, Dr. Muhammad Adraoui (University of Singapore/Sciences Po Paris) will discuss the deradicalisation programmes adopted by the French ministry of Interior. Colonel Hervé Pierre (French Ministry of Defense, Serval Operation in Mali in 2013-2014) will shed light on the French anti-jihadi foreign and military policies. Finally, Dr. Federica Infantino (University of Oxford, Wolfson College) will discuss EU counter-terrorism policies, focusing on border security.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Faisal Devji (University of Oxford, St Antony’s College), author of Militant Islam and Global Politics, will share his comments on the day through a comparative perspective with other forms of jihadism in the world.


10.30 – 11.00 am      Welcome Coffee

11.00 am – 1.30 pm      Panel 1: Defining a Strictly European Issue?

Nafees Hamid, “Europe's ISIS Networks: Their appeal, structure, and evolution”
Bernard Rougier, “Connecting European and Middle Eastern Jihadisms”
Gijs de Vries, “The EU and (violent) radicalisation” 

1.30 – 2.30 pm     Lunch

2.30 – 5pm     Panel 2: A European Answer to a European Form of Violence?

Muhammad Adraoui, “Deradicalisation programmes ‘à la française’”
Hervé Pierre, “Building a Military Strategy Against ISIS: a French Perspective”
Federica Infantino, “EU Border Control and Counter-Terrorism Policies”

5 – 5.30 pm     Coffee Break

5.30 – 6.30 pm     Keynote speech

Faisal Devji, “From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State: Europe in the Global Jihad” 

Co-organised with the Maison Française d’Oxford and the Oxford/Sciences Po Research Group (OXPO)