ISN Weekly Theme: Debating Jihad


Cairo skyline in dusk

Although high up on the list of security policy priorities, the scope of Islamic terrorism and its ideological underpinnings remain contested. With fundamental implications for counterterrorism efforts, a clear understanding of the roots and implications of jihadism are crucial to the formulation of effective responses.

This week’s Special Report sheds light on this complex phenomenon and contains the following content, navigated along the tab structure above:

  • An Analysis by Kaisa Schreck examines the history and practice of jihad from a conceptual standpoint.
  • In our Podcast interview Lorenzo Vidino of Harvard University discusses the “Europeanization of jihad” and the unprecedented challenge that this poses to governments as they seek to prevent future attacks while countering the narrative of radicalization.
  • Security Watch articles examining the fight against jihadism in Bosnia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including an International Crisis Group report on jihad in Indonesia.
  • Links to relevant websites, including an article analyzing the root causes and religious justifications of extremism in Saudi Arabia.
  • Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, among them the Quilliam Foundation.

Shopping in Sarajevo

Stylin' in Sarajevo/photo:
Stylin' in Sarajevo / photo:

Bosnians are not really into protesting. Clearly, it requires too much mental and physical energy that is better spent … well, in the Bosnian fashion: living life, seizing the day (with coffee and cigarettes, but nonetheless).

Every now and then small groups of war veterans and pensioners will gather in front of a government building to protest not having received their funds, and once, last year, there was a protest when a teenager was stabbed to death by another teenager, but it was entirely unclear against whom the protests were directed (presumably God). Other than that, the only protest to note was when a down-on-her-luck female education official attempted to distract herself from her personal problems by causing a Christmastime uproar, proposing the sacking of Santa and his replacement by some previously unknown Muslim version of the jolly fellow. This time, a few handfuls of people (representing all ethnic-religious-secular groups) gathered in protest outside the main cathedral in the city center.

In the past few weeks, however, a new target for potential protest is a newly opened shopping center. Though the protests are unlikely to develop beyond the verbal complaint and tacit boycott phase, the shopping center is the latest exciting controversy and the main topic of call-in radio and television talk shows. The problem: Well, the shopping center is Arab built and run and refuses to sell pork in its supermarket or to allow the sale of alcohol or the presence of betting shops, the latter a major Bosnian hobby of late.