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Radical Islam Rising: Muslim Extremism in the West Paperback – 21 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (21 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742536416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742536418
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 1.5 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 673,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


A ground-breaking work on the process of radicalization among Western Muslims. Wiktorowicz not only undertook astonishing and difficult fieldwork but brings us a theoretically innovative approach to understanding the case of the Western Muslim 'born-again.' -- Olivier Roy, French National Center for Scientific Research An important new book by Quintan Wiktorowicz...makes clear that the Salafists operate like a cult...Wiktorowicz researched his book by embedding himself with al-Muhajiroun, an extremist Salafist group based in London. He found that the group preyed on disoriented young Muslims - not poor or oppressed themselves but confused and looking for meaning. -- David Igatieff Review Of Higher Education Wiktorowicz's study makes several important contributions. In addition to illuminating certain psychological aspects of the radicalization process and tactics used by extremist groups, it pinpoints missed opportunities by British moderates. This book is a must-read for anybody interested in radicalization in the West and how to counter it. Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009 Wiktorowicz demystifies radical Islam in the first study to lift the veil around a militant Islamist organization in the West. Through careful empirical evidence, he sheds light on how educated but alienated young Muslims adopt their hate-filled messages and cheer for Bin Laden. A must-read for anyone interested in the sources of terrorism. -- Marc Sageman, University of Pennsylvania and author of Understanding Terror Networks

About the Author

Quintan Wiktorowicz, a well-known expert on Islamic movements, has taught at Dartmouth College, Rhodes College, and Shippensburg University. He has conducted research on both moderate and radical Islamic movements in Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, and Europe. He is the author of The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan, Global Jihad: Understanding September 11 and the editor of Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Calum Jacques on 19 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a good book. However, we do need to place it in its immediate historical and literary context in order to appreciate its contribution to the current debate on Islam and 'the West'. A number of sociologists have striven to explain the apparent rise and rise of fundamentalist Islam through recent history. Various reasons have been cited to try to account for this surge, including hatred of 'Western' values - epitomised by the US, the discrediting and marginalisation of Marxism, the decline in the nationalism of individual Arabic states, the break-up of the Soviet Union along with the ending of the Cold War, among a considerable number (and variety) of other supposed reasons.

In 2004, the author of this work, Quintan Wiktorowicz, edited a book called 'Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach' (Indiana University Press). To make a long story short, the mode of investigation proposed and utilised by this work should, in theory at least, help to guard against common mistakes perpetrated in research on Islamism, e.g. it claims that social and monetary deprivation and the resultant frustration cannot fully explain the rise of Islamism since poverty does not lead necessarily to pro-active terrorism. This work builds upon these premises.

Apparently, unless this reviewer is very much mistaken, much of the research in this work is conducted on and around a particular radical organization (al-Muhajiroun) based in Greater London and operated by Omar Bakri Mohammed, who was actually barred from the UK in 2005! Wiktorowicz undertook no less than 30 formal and informal interviews with Omar Bakri Mohammed himself and various other group members and activists. A variety of "movement documents" were also studied.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Academically rigorous study. 13 May 2007
By D. R. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike many of the books available today, Wiktorowicz has written a book that is based on social science, not the faddish headlines of the day. The book will invariably divide readers into two camps; those who are interested in extremism and those who truly want to understand the recruitment and radicalization process.

The book is best summarized by looking at his three central questions:

1. How are individuals drawn into the socialization process where they can be exposed to radical, religious education?

2. How do individuals come to accept and adopt the radical Islamic ideology as their own world view?

3. How does socialization overcome "the free rider dilemma?" In other words, convince individuals to do things that are not in their own self interest, and participate in high risk behavior that could lead to arrest, jail or death?

In the end, the author shows how terrorists capitalize, or if necessary create, "cognitive openings," which are periods in which individuals are willing to question their own long held personal beliefs and consider radical new ideas. Once an individual is convinced that the group's radical goals or the rewards for participation in the group's activities (e.g. eternal paradise) are MORE IMPORTANT than their well beings, you have yourself an operative.

This is a great read for those who seriously want to understand the recruitment and radicalization problem, as well as those who are charged to slow the spread of radicalism.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
obvious conclusion, but fascinating route 12 Dec. 2006
By M. Norris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book carefully for a class on crime, immigration and ethnicity. Basically, his whole point can be summed up in one sentence: people who join radical groups are not wide-eyed lunatics, but rational actors operating out of spiritual self-interest. They sacrifice jobs, families and assimilation in the West because they buy into a specific ideology's pathway to heaven. Dude, they want the virgins and this group can offer you the only sure way to get 'em. That's the point of this very academic book. (Seems obvious to me.)

However, it takes you through the sort of the eerie way people come to believe this, which turns out to be interesting. It's very case specific, but also highly applicable to the recruiting methods of all social movements and high-risk activism groups.
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