Jihadism in Europe today - Does fighting jihad still hold global appeal?

Professor Olivier Roy has argued persuasively that there is something new and deadlier about the jihadi terrorist violence of the past two decades. Particularly the thousands of Europeans who travelled to the Middle East to join Islamist militant movements or attack at home in their name, direct our critical attention towards European jihadism and the societies in which it develops. These foreign fighters came from all strata of society and represent a broad spectrum – from young idealist and diligent school girls to pious Salafi-jihadists or hardened criminals. Some went for the duration of their semester holiday while others sought a completely new life in the caliphate, or deliberately pursued their own deaths fighting jihad. This has given rise to an academic and policy debate on how best to understand what motivates someone who was born or brought up in a European welfare state to leave its comfort and safety to engage in what seems to be a far-removed conflict, and whether such a choice also indicates a desire to engage in terrorism in Europe.

In this talk, Olivier Roy and Maja Greenwood will discuss what the unprecedented number of foreign fighters says about contemporary European jihadism, and what it says about European societies today; is such jihadist violence a consequence of a particular religious ideological attitude, or does the religious ideology merely provide a legitimising narrative for violent actions that grow out of frustrations caused by social marginalisation?

This event is co-hosted with Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC), University of Copenhagen.


Olivier Roy, Professor, the European University Institute, Florence

Maja Touzari Greenwood, Ph.D., DIIS





Contemporary European jihadism
Olivier Roy


European foreign fighters
Maja Touzari Greenwood



Practical information

The seminar will be in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Monday 24 September 2018 at 12.00 noon.