Islamist Terrorism in Europe: Trends and Prospects

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-6-93-101

A. Yashlavskii (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation


In 2010s, Europe faced a wave of terrorist acts organized by extremists of Islamist-jihadist persuasion (one of important factors of this phenomenon is the emergence of the ISIL terrorist group in the foreground). This wave is associated with a number of factors, including the conflict in Syria. At the same time, the roots of jihadist terrorism in Europe have value-based nature. From the Islamist extremists’ point of view, Western values (in their broadest manifestation, from secularism to tolerance) are a priori deeply hostile and, therefore, a subject to destruction. The ideological constructs of radical Islamists exploit the themes of hostility of the West to Islam and the need for violence under the banner of “jihad” as the only possible answer to the “threat” to the Muslim world coming from the West. An alarming sign is the recruitment by terrorists to the ranks of their supporters among representatives of European youth (primarily of immigrant origin), who are the main object of skillful propaganda from radical Islamists. There is a reason to believe that the terrorist threat from Salafi jihadists will be significant for European countries in the foreseeable future. The terrorist threat can pose an existential challenge for Europe. Terrorist attacks carried out by jihadist extremists are not able to defeat Europe in a military sense, but they can seriously undermine the basic values that are of identity significance for Europe. The super-objective of the masterminds of jihadism is to create an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust between representatives of different faiths and communities in Europe. The spread of Islamophobic attitudes in Europe plays into the hands of jihadist extremists who rely on polarization between the indigenous people of European countries and the Muslim minority, in order to attract representatives of the latter (and make a special stake on young people).


terrorism, Europe, EU, European Union, Islam, Muslims, migartion, immigrants, extremism, Jihadism, Islamism, ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh, Islamic State


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For citation:
Yashlavskii A. Islamist Terrorism in Europe: Trends and Prospects . Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2019, vol. 63, No 6, pp. 93-101.

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