Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History

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A conversation with Professor Jytte Klausen about her new book, ‘Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History’, which charts the development of Al-Qaeda’s growth in the West.


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In forensic and compelling detail, Professor Jytte Klausen shows how Islamist terrorism in Europe and North America has been driven, not by local grievances of Western Muslims, but by the strategic priorities of the international Salafi-jihadist revolutionary movement. That movement has adapted to Western repertoires of protest: agitating for armed insurrection and religious revivalism in the name of a warped version of Islam.

The jihadists of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and their many affiliates and associates, have also proved to be remarkably resilient, and have repeatedly recovered from major setbacks, including their near obliteration during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Appealing to disaffected Muslims of immigrant origin and alienated converts to Islam, jihadist groups continue to recruit new adherents in Europe and North America, street-side in neighbourhoods, in jails, and online through increasingly clandestine platforms.

In this webinar, Professor Klausen takes a comparative and historical approach, drawing on her unparalleled database of up to 6,500 Western jihadist extremists and their networks, and offer a comprehensive analysis of the origins of Western jihadism and its role in the global movement.

Speaker biography

Professor Jytte Klausen is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University, and an affiliate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. In 2006, she founded the Western Jihadism Project, which studies Western violent extremists associated with Al-Qaeda.

Professor Klausen’s book, ‘Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History’, is published by Oxford University Press on 1 June 2021.

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