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Reframing Muslim 'Radicalism'

The challenge from decentralised forms of Islamist militancy – frequently labelled ‘radical Islam’ - has been increasingly interpreted as ideological: Western governments are committed to this ideological battle, and a host of civil society initiatives have also arisen in parallel, but based on often limiting, crude or conflicting conceptions of wider notions of ‘radicalism’ in global Islam.

This project will explore the ideological impetus and limitations of knowledge production linked to the emergence of the globalisation of expertise on ‘radical Islam’, including their subordination to market forces. Through an inter-disciplinary methodology, including historical reflections on anti-authoritarian religion, it aims to shed light on wider forms of radical Muslim mobilisation and the structural factors determining the setting of agendas by various actors involved in the enterprise of counter-ideology within which various forms of radicalism, including non-violent ones, have been conflated or neglected. In doing so, it explores how the ideological prisms through which we understand and respond to radical developments in global Islam both inhibits wider understandings of radicalism and anti-authority in Islam, and may deepen, rather than assuage, real world conflicts.