What drives radicalization in Europe? Are we witnessing the radicalisation of Islam, or rather the islamisation of radicalism? A prominent voice in the ongoing debate, Professor Olivier Roy argues that the current wave of radicalism mainly is a manifestation of the latter. European societies are increasingly spawning lost souls, aspiring rebels in search of an ideology that provides them with a cause. He finds that those who turn to extremism are most often found among society’s malcontents.

Professor Roy’s work on the social roots of radicalization is comparative, and distinguishes between radicalization in relatively stable societies in Western Europe (foreign fighters and homegrown radicalization) and in conflict areas across the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Mali. Professor Roy argues that some drivers of radicalization are specific to Europe. This includes the generational and cultural divide between second generation immigrants and their parents. Security agencies also estimate the presence of around 25 percent converts among the European foreign fighters who travelled to Syria.

Professor Olivier Roy is currently joint-chair at the Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies and SPS department of the European University Institute in Firenze. He is the scientific adviser of the Middle East Directions programme at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and heads the ReligioWest research project. He was previously senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and visiting professor at Berkeley University. He is the author of, among other books, Globalized Islam, Holy Ignorance, and most recently Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of the Islamic State.

Tine Gade, senior researcher at NUPI, will chair the event.

This event is hosted by the Consortium for Research on Terrorism and International Crime and the seminar series Norway meets Europe.