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      Challenging Terrorism as a Form of “Otherness”: Exploring the Parallels between Far-right and Muslim Religious Extremism



            It is commonly argued in public, media, and political discourse that Muslim religious extremism is the primary form of violent extremism plaguing western nations, thus casting terrorism and political violence in the realm of “Otherness.” With the growth of far-right and white supremacist groups in a number of North American and European societies these arguments become increasingly tenuous and ambivalent. This paper sets out to do a comparative analysis of far-right extremism and Muslim religious extremism to challenge the notion that terrorism and violent extremism is a form of “Otherness.” This article draws parallels between far-right and Muslim religious extremism in the realm of tactics and ideology. By understanding these similarities, holistic and comprehensive policies relating to countering violent extremism can be developed, addressing issues of marginalization, empowerment, and education, which attend to issues affecting individuals inclining towards both forms of extremist thought.


            Author and article information

            Islamophobia Studies Journal
            Pluto Journals
            1 October 2019
            : 5
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/islastudj.5.issue-1 )
            : 99-115
            American University in Dubai, School of Education
            © Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata

            Social & Behavioral Sciences
            Anti-Muslim racism,critical approaches to CVE,Islamophobia,far-right extremism,Salafi Jihadism


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            3. Beenish Ahmed, “Less than 2 Percent of Terrorist Attacks in the EU Are Religiously Motivated,” January 8, 2015, accessed from https://thinkprogress.org/less-than-2-percent-of-terrorist-attacks-in-the-e-u-are-religiously-motivated-cec7d8ebedf6

            4. FBI, “Reports and Publications,” December, accessed April 15, 2014, from http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005/terror02_05#forward

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            6. Erin Kearns, Allison Betus and Anthony Lemieux, Why Do Some Terrorist Attacks Receive More Media Attention than Others? (Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University, 2017).

            7. Ibid.

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            11. Arun Kundnani and Ben Hayes, The Globalization of Countering Violent Extremism Policies: Undermining Human Rights, Instrumentalizating Civil Society (Amsterdam: The Transnational Institute, 2018).

            12. Ibid., 6.

            13. Ibid.

            14. Deepa Kumar, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2012)

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            16. Kundnani and Hayes, The Globalization of Countering Violent Extremism.

            17. Kundnani, The Muslims are Coming.

            18. Kundnani and Hayes, The Globalization of Countering Violent Extremism.

            19. Mitchel Miller, “Otherness,” in Lisa Given (ed), The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods, vol 2 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications 2008), 587-89 (587).

            20. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

            21. Steven Chermak and Jeffery Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation for the Criminological Examination of Right-wing, Left-wing, and Al Qaeda-Inspired Extremism in the United States,” Terrorism and Political Violence 27, no. 1 (2015): 133-59.

            22. Ibid.

            23. Ibid.

            24. Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Network (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)

            25. Chermak and Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation.”

            26. Ramon Spaaij, “The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism: An Assessment,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 33, no. 9 (2010): 854-70.

            27. Chermak and Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation.”

            28. Jeffrey Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat (Amherst, MA: Prometheus Books, 2016).

            29. Ibid., 23.

            30. Jessica Stern, Terror in the Name of God. (New York: Harper Collins, 2003), 172.

            31. Jeffrey Kaplan, “Leaderless Resistance,” Terrorism and Political Violence 9, no. 3 (1997): 80-95.

            32. Ibid., 80.

            33. Louis Beam, “Leaderless Resistance,” Seditionist 12 (1992).

            34. Spaaij, “The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism.”

            35. Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism.

            36. Jessica Stern and J. M. Berger, ISIS: The State of Terror (New York: Harper Collins, 2015).

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            39. Chermak and Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation.”

            40. Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism.

            41. Ibid.

            42. Ibid.

            43. Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche, “Norway Mourns Victims Of Anti-Islam ‘Crusader’,” Reuters (July 24, 2011), accessed from http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-58415820110724

            44. Ibid.

            45. Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism.

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            47. Ibid.

            48. Chris Allen, “Opposing Islamification or Promoting Islamophobia? Understanding the English Defence League,” Patterns of Prejudice 45, no. 4 (2011): 279-94.

            49. Kevin Braouezek, “Identifying Common Patterns of Discourse and Strategy among the New Extremist Movements in Europe: The Case of the English Defence League and the Bloc Identitaire,” Journal of Intercultural Studies 37, no. 6 (2016): 637-48.

            50. Ghassan Hage, White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society (New York: Routledge, 2000).

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            55. Steven Salaita, Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes from and What it Means for Politics Today (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2006).

            56. Ibid.

            57. Paul Blumenthal and J. M. Rieger, “Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable,” Huffington Post (February 18, 2017), accessed from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/steve-bannon-apocalypse_us_5898f02ee4b040613138a951

            58. Julia Ebner and Amarnath Amarasingam, “Calls for a ‘White Jihad’ Show How Terrifyingly Intertwined Islamists and the Far-Right have Become,” The Telegraph (September 7, 2017), accessed from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/07/calls-white-jihad-show-terrifyingly-intertwined-islamists-far/

            59. Maher, Salafi-jihadism.

            60. Stern and Berger, ISIS.

            61. Maher, Salafi-jihadism.

            62. Ibid.

            63. Tabah Foundation, Deviance (Abu Dhabi: Tabah Foundation, 2016).

            64. Ibid.

            65. Maher, Salafi-jihadism.

            66. Tabah Foundation, Deviance.

            67. Ibid.

            68. Maher, Salafi-jihadism.

            69. Tabah Foundation, Deviance.

            70. Aya Batrawy, Paisley Dodds and Lori Hinnant, “Leaked Isis Documents Reveal Recruits Have Poor Grasp of Islamic Faith,” The Independent (August 16, 2016), accessed from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-documents-leak-recruits-islam-sharia-religion-faith-syria-iraq-a7193086.html

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            72. Ibid.

            73. Batrawy et al., “Leaked Isis Documents Reveal Recruits Have Poor Grasp of Islamic Faith.”

            74. Ibid.

            75. Ibid.

            76. Ibid.

            77. Stern and Berger, ISIS, 224-25.

            78. Ibid.

            79. Jean Pierre Filiu, Apocalypse in Islam (London: University of California Press, 2011).

            80. Stern and Berger, ISIS, 224.

            81. Ibid.

            82. David Kirkpatrick, “New Freedoms in Tunisia Drive Support for ISIS,” The New York Times (October 21, 2014), accessed from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/world/africa/new-freedoms-in-tunisia-drive-support-for-isis.html?mcubz=0

            83. Stern and Berger, ISIS, 231.

            84. Bert Klandermans and Jacqueline Van Stekelenburg, Threatened Identities: The Interaction between Anti-Islam Movements and Radical Islam (Amsterdam: Scientific Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, 2016).

            85. Ebner and Amarasingam, “Calls for a ‘White Jihad’ Show How Terrifyingly Intertwined Islamists and the Far-Right have Become.”

            86. Chermak and Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation,” 152.

            87. Rizwan Sabir, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism through Civil, Political, and Human Rights (Liverpool: Liverpool John Moores University, 2016), 13.

            88. Joey Green, Jesus and Mohammad: The Parallel Sayings (Berkeley, CA: Seastone, 2003).

            89. Kundnani, The Muslims are Coming.

            90. Sabir, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism through Civil, Political, and Human Rights.

            91. Chermak and Gruenewald, “Laying a Foundation.”


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