Osama bin Laden's demise in May 2011 marked only the symbolic end of an era. By the time of his killing, he no longer represented the Robin Hood icon that once stirred global fascination. Ten years after the 11 September 2001 attacks, jihadi terrorism has largely lost its juggernaut luster. It now mostly resembles a patchwork of self-radicalising local groups with international contacts but without any central organisational design - akin to the radical left terrorism of the 1970s and the anarchist fin-de-siècle terrorism. This volume addresses two issues that remain largely unexplored in contemporary terrorism studies. It rehabilitates the historical and comparative analysis as a way to grasp the essence of terrorism, including its jihadi strand. Crucial similarities with earlier forms of radicalisation and terrorism abound and differences appear generally not fundamental. Likewise, the very concept of radicalisation is seldom questioned anymore. Nevertheless it often lacks conceptual clarity and empirical validation. Once considered a quintessential European phenomenon, the United States too experiences how some of its own citizens radicalise into terrorist violence. This collective work compares radicalisation in both continents and the strategies aimed at de-radicalisation. But it also assesses if the concept merits its reputation as the holy grail of terrorism studies. The volume is aimed at an audience of decision makers, law enforcement officials, academia and think tanks, by its combination of novel thinking, practical experience and a theoretical approach.
Rik Coolsaet is Chair at the Department of Political Science, Ghent University, Ghent University, Belgium
'Through its systematic engagement with a variety of ideas and cases, this collection of important work provides a central point of focus for scholars and practitioners seeking to engage with the questions and debates surrounding radicalisation and jihadi violence. Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge represents the capstone to the current phase of research on this subject, and essential reading for all in this field.' Jonathan Githens-Mazer, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK 'In the literature on Jihadism, Rik Coolsaet's contribution as the editor of the book Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalization Challenge: European and American Experiences stands apart. Many outstanding scholars took part in its writing and they brought in new ideas not only on Jihadism and radicalization but also on the de-radicalization process and its intricacies. By reading this single book, one can surmise having read tens, the rich contribution of the scholars making almost each chapter unique. At the end, one comes out with a much deeper understanding of Jihadism. Farhad Khosrokhavar, Ã‰cole des hautes études en sciences sociales, France ’Coolsaet’s volume puts the idea of ’root causes’ of terrorism - once rejected by many US commentators as inappropriate in al-Qaeda’s case - back on centre stage.’ New Zealand International Review 'This book is essential for officials involved in identifying and profiling the scope and nature of any jihadi terror threat. It is a compendium of academic research and the experience of hands-on counter-terrorism experts, such as Robert Lambert of the UK, with his innovative ideas such as the establishment of Muslim contact units in London - a critical tool for de-radicalisation and deconstruction of jihadi propaganda... Many of the research papers in this book are empirical studies, backed by considerable research data. One of the key features is how to establish and run a de-radicalisation unit, whi