Hearing But Not Listening: Islamist Activism in Britain

Jonathan Githens-Mazer '97, the co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies at the University of Exeter, suggests that religion, identity, and political behavior must be disaggregated from discussions about security and the nature of any contemporary terrorist threat.

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Radicalization, extremism, and Islamism have become buzzwords for politicians and the media seeking to explain the threat of "radical Islam" and terrorism "against the West." Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron recently implicitly offered the following syllogism to European heads of state: Extremism is leading to terrorism; Islamism is extremism; and therefore Islamically-inspired political activism is, to quote another, "an entry chamber to terrorism." In this Spring 2011 talk, Jonathan Githens-Mazer '97 offers evidence to suggest that religion, identity, and political behavior must be disaggregated from discussions about security and the nature of any contemporary terrorist threat. Githens-Mazer is the co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies at the University of Exeter.