Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A conversation with Olivier Roy on the nature of the alleged Marathon terrorists

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013   No comments

Olivier Roy has a different view of radical Islam from many of the experts you find writing in the American press. Roy, now 63, first went to Central Asia as a 19-year-old high school dropout, but eventually become a leading expert on Islamic politics. He has been a consultant to the French Foreign Ministry and United Nations and is currently a professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Several of his books are landmarks in the field, including The Failure of Political Islam and Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah.  

Roy’s view is relevant in understanding the alleged Boston marathon bombers. A decade ago, Roy was pointing out that al Qaeda was drawing many of its recruits from Western Europe rather than from Saudi Arabia or Palestine or Pakistan. He saw al Qaeda as a product of the failure of Arab nationalism and Marxism-Leninism to establish viable popular societies. Its tactics and outlook derived from the Red Army Faction or Red Brigades or the secular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine rather than from the Koran or from religious factions within Islam. Al Qaeda, Roy wrote in The Illusions of September 11, is “a junction of a radicalized Islam with a shrill anti-imperialism reshaped by globalization.”



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