After the positive vibrations that the Arab Spring sent around Europe in 2011, today we are witnessing a reversal of that positive trend. The escalation of violence and insecurity in the region is sending shock waves across Europe and North America. Negative vibrations have been acutely felt in Europe, not only with the Charlie Hebdo events in Paris, but also in relation to the so-called foreign fighters question. Several thousand young people – mostly men but also women –, a tiny, albeit dramatically visible, part of the European Muslim community – some of whom are second-generation migrant youth of Muslim origin, while others are young converts – have joined ISIS forces in Syria to fight a jihadist war. My aim in this paper is to argue that, while the weaknesses and tensions of integration policies exist and may have intensified since the start of the new century, the seeds of minority Muslim youth recruitment in Europe has more to do with today’s global-local connections rather than with failed integration.
Paper produced within the framework of the New-Med Research Network, May 2015.
1. European Muslims
2. Tensions over Islam in different European countries
3. Distinguishing between problems of integration and jihadist terrorism