Engaging with Violent Islamic Extremism: Local Policies in Western European Cities

The terrorist attacks at the start of the new millennium shook the world. In Western countries, the new threat of 'home-grown' Islamic terrorism has directed the authorities' attention towards local Muslim communities. Islamic terrorism is generally seen as a sign of the lack of integration of these communities. Authorities therefore often opt for preventive policies in which the engagement with Muslim organizations and spokespersons plays a significant role. However, this engagement comes with its own problems and dilemmas. Should authorities aim for a broad representation of the community or instead go for selective engagement? Are non-violent fundamentalist organizations also to be seen as the enemy? Should authorities enter into public debate with extremist organizations? Is it wise to link anti-radicalization policies to more general integration policies? Engaging with Violent Islamic Extremism shows how authorities in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Antwerp have each developed distinctive policies, and how they have dealt with the accompanying dilemmas. The book distills various approaches that can be assessed by their merits and defects, thus stimulating important reflection on the 'what, ' 'why, ' and 'how' of anti-radicalization policy. *** This is a well-done, scholarly collection of case studies . . . It is devoid of the usual political correctness and goes right to the heart of the matter. . . . a useful guide to the political and social leadership of other cities in Europe and the Americas who face similar challenges, and one that is refreshingly distinct in its frankness. - Richard R. E. Kania, International Criminal Justice Review, Vol. 23:403-404