Add to GoodReads

Radical Islam Rising

Muslim Extremism in the West

Quintan Wiktorowicz

Although the West denounces the spread of radical Islam in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the Muslim world, it tends to overlook the development of Islamic extremism in its own societies. Over the past several decades, groups like al-Qaeda have been supported by thousands of citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western democracies. Rejecting their national identity, they have heeded international calls to "jihad" and formed extremist groups to fight their own countries.

This groundbreaking book represents one of the first systematic attempts to explain why Westerners join radical Islamic groups. Quintan Wiktorowicz details the mechanisms that attract potential recruits, the instruments of persuasion that convince them that radical groups represent "real Islam," and the socialization process that prods them to engage in risky extremism.

Throughout, he traces the subtle process that can turn seemingly unreligious people into supporters of religious violence. The author's invaluable insights are based upon nearly unprecedented access to a radical Islamic group in the West. His extraordinary fieldwork forms the basis of a detailed case study of al-Muhajiroun, a transnational movement based in London that supports Bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. Through its rich empirical detail, this book explains why ordinary people join extremist movements.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 264Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-3640-1 • Hardback • August 2005 • $106.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7425-3641-8 • Paperback • July 2005 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4616-4171-1 • eBook • July 2005 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
Quintan Wiktorowicz, a well-known expert on Islamic movements, has taught at Dartmouth College, Rhodes College, and Shippensburg University. He has conducted research on both moderate and radical Islamic movements in Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, and Europe. He is the author of The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan, Global Jihad: Understanding September 11 and the editor of Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach.
Chapter 1 High-Risk Islamic Activism
Chapter 2 Cognitive Openings and Religious Seeking
Chapter 3 Credibility and Sacred Authority
Chapter 4 Culturing and Commitment
A ground-breaking work on the process of radicalization among Western Muslims. Wiktorowicz not only undertook astonishing and difficult fieldwork but brings us a theoretically innovative approach to understanding the case of the Western Muslim 'born-again.'
Olivier Roy, French National Center for Scientific Research

An important new book by Quintan Wiktorowicz...makes clear that the Salafists operate like a cult....Wiktorowicz researched his book by embedding himself with al-Muhajiroun, an extremist Salafist group based in London. He found that the group preyed on disoriented young Muslims — not poor or oppressed themselves but confused and looking for meaning.
David Igatieff; The Review of Higher Education

Wiktorowicz's study makes several important contributions. In addition to illuminating certain psychological aspects of the radicalization process and tactics used by extremist groups, it pinpoints missed opportunities by British moderates. This book is a must-read for anybody interested in radicalization in the West and how to counter it.
Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009

Wiktorowicz demystifies radical Islam in the first study to lift the veil around a militant Islamist organization in the West. Through careful empirical evidence, he sheds light on how educated but alienated young Muslims adopt their hate-filled messages and cheer for Bin Laden. A must-read for anyone interested in the sources of terrorism.
Marc Sageman, University of Pennsylvania and author of Understanding Terror Networks

One of the only empirical studies of radical Islam in the West.

Uses comparative social movement theory to develop a framework that can be applied to non-Islamic movements as well.

Reflects unique access to a radical Islamic group.