anthropology, Australia, democracy, Muslims, Politcis, Religion, Terrorism

Will Australia see the development of paramilitary organisations as a response to terror fears?

I have lived in Northern Ireland (NI) for nearly five years; I conducted research, and despite that I was researching the Muslim community, through some NI friends I had access to that complex society, including the complex paramilitary reality. Indeed, it was so complex that when a friend and I wanted to start a university student’s netzine and selected an acronym as a name for it, we were informed that we had to think of a better name, since those few letters represented a not very well known but still active paramilitary group. The Northern Irish conflict, despite being prominently political, has religious connotations; Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists have fought each other since the UK partitioned the island. This conflict became later known as “The Troubles”.

History is never neutral and recent history even less so, but when I asked about how the NI Loyalist paramilitary groups started, my Protestant informants told me that they started emerging in the 1960s as vigilante groups to protect Protestant neighbourhoods from attacks. They then developed into terrorist organisations opposed to a united Ireland. 

So, you might ask, what has this to do with Australia and the current terrorist threat?   Continue reading

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anthropology, Australia, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Refugees, Religion, Research, sociology, Sunni, Terrorism, War on Terror

Indefinite detention for advocating jihadi violence

The Sydney Morning Herald contacted me for a comment on former judge Anthony Whealy’s suggestion to imprison terrorists and terrorist advocates indefinitely till proven de-radicalised. A short quote from my interview can be read here. Yet I wish to explain my strong objection, as a scholar whom knows well the process of radicalisation within prison, against that advice. Continue reading

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anthropology, Australia, Cartoons, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Race, Religion, Research, Satire, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

Should Muslims Apologise for Muslim Terrorists?

The debate, particularly in Australia, about whether Muslims should apologise or not for the acts of terrorism of some individuals whom are identified or identify themselves as Muslims, is in full spin. Recently a Twitter hashtag was developed where Muslims started to apologise for everything you may imagine. Some, during conversations with me, expressed their strong viewpoints:

Continue reading

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America, anthropology, bin-Laden, Bush, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Iraq, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Robert Spencer

What was Osama bin-Laden for Muslims?

bin-Laden is dead. A decadent symbol has been assassinated. For some time before his demise, his influence on contemporary terrorism had been on the wane. Most likely Osama had little choice but to agree to retire to his Pakistani prison under the ‘supervision’ of the Pakistani secret services and Taliban tribes.  I did not write any blog post at the time of bin-Laden’s execution. There was nothing to say. His story has had the feel of a work of fiction from beginning to end, complete with impressive pyrotechnics, blood and splatter, where the director, producer and star of the drama was none other than bin-Laden himself. He died as he wished: one bullet in the chest, a few stumbling steps, and a final gore splattering bullet in the head. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Europe, Freedom, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Terrorism

Europe, anti-Islam movements and the three monkeys: the Oslo attack

I was in Florence spending some time with my family when yesterday the local news informed me of a car bomb in Oslo, followed only moments later by news of a horrible mass shooting. Immediately the newscasters told us that it may be an Al-Qaeda attack in revenge of Norway’s marginal role in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the more recent Libyan air campaign. Islamic terrorism has hit Europe again. Immediately a flurry of comments about the high number of Muslims living in Oslo appeared – yet these were quickly substituted, upon confirmation that the culprit behind the bloodshed was a tall blonde man, with comments about the danger of ‘converts’. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Freedom, Islam, Islam in Europe, jihad, marranci, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Research, Scotland, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

British Prisons and terrorism: the foretold failure

A few days ago, the head of MI5 Jonathan Evans has undertaken the unusual step of revealing, among other aspects linked to the security of the UK, his own concerns that a number of soon-to-be-freed inmates are still ‘committed extremists and likely to return to terrorist activities.’ As an anthropologist who has conducted one of the most in-depth research projects on Muslims in prison in the UK, his quite alarmist announcement did not take me by surprise. I am pretty sure that Mr Evans has every right to be concerned. Yet the British public needs to also know why today we find ourselves in such situation and where the political responsibility lies. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Arab-Israeli conflict, bin-Laden, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Gender, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Israel/Palestine, jihad, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Prison, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Robert Spencer, sociology, South Asia, Sunni, Terrorism, The UK, University, War on Terror

Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism

I am pleased to inform my friends and readers that my latest book Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism, is finally on the bookshelf of (more or less virtual) book shops.

Another book on Islamic fundamentalism?’ I can hear the question echoing among friends, colleagues and readers. Since 2001, more than 100 books and 5,600 articles have been published on Islamic fundamentalism. Broadening the research to agnate labels – such as Islamism (about 200 books and 243 articles), political Islam (345 books and 4,670 articles) and Islamic extremism (only 16 books and 1610 articles) – we can appreciate the amount of scholarly publication pressed into the past seven years.

So, why write another book? I have tried to explain the reasons in the Introduction, which you can read for free. The book provides a very different analysis of what has been labeled ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, and what I prefer to call ’emotional Islam’. Continue reading

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