Hakim El Karoui
Why this report? Because even though the subject is still very much in the French and European spotlight, it remains poorly understood. What is Islamism? What are its objectives? Its impact? Its key players? The concepts are complex, the words are foreign, the motivations are unclear, and the driving forces behind the development of this ideology are difficult to understand. The ambition of this work is simple: to demonstrate and explain the entire transmission mechanism that leads from the creation of Islamism to the dynamics that enable its spread in France and in Europe:
- Genealogy: the contexts in which it was born, the philosophical questions it raises, the vision of the world it carries;
- Production: the places where it is manufactured and the administrative machines that produce it;
- Spread: the men and women who convey it, the networks, both political and social, that disseminate it;
- Reception: the way it has developed in Europe.
Following the completion of this work, it appears that Islamism is a powerful but poorly understood contemporary ideology. Its aim is clear: to create a global project with religion as the life framework and the project for the individual and society. Its values are often opposed to Western values: group vs. individual, religious norm vs. individual freedom, inequality between men and women vs. the pursuit of equality, etc.
The response to the development of Islamism in France and Europe should be driven by reason rather than fear. To understand this ideology’s creation and dissemination mechanisms. To imagine a new organization of Islam, in France and in Europe. For European Muslims to promote an alternative discourse, compatible with our societies.
This work is based on numerous documentary sources:
- We reviewed over 200 books and scholarly reports, in English, Arabic, French and German;
- We conducted about 60 interviews with institutions, associations, prisons, religious leaders and citizens in eight Arab and European countries;
- We carried out a pioneering analysis of the Saudi Leaks, a set of more than 122,000 Saudi Foreign Ministry documents uncovered by Wikileaks in June 2015;
- We analyzed 275 fatwas (Islamic legal statements issued by an expert in religious law);
- We carried out a thorough analysis of a massive quantity of data collected on Twitter and Facebook on the origin and frequency of Islamist content on social networks.