The latest mutation of jihadism

The latest mutation of jihadism

Attacks in the name of Allah, imams with inflammatory statements, demonstrative signs in public spaces, allegations of “Islamophobia” despite the slightest criticism, etc.

Which connections should be made between these phenomena and which should not be made?

The eminent Islamologist Gilles Képel, professor at the University of Paris Sciences and Literature, proposes the term “atmospheric jihadism”.

I summarize this too schematically.


The attacks of September 11, 2001 and several other large-scale attacks required significant funds that were covertly provided by political regimes or by powerful factions within those regimes.

We’re not here anymore, says Képel.

The attack on Salman Rushdie, the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the beheading of Professor Samuel Paty and others were perpetrated by individuals with little or no connection to structured networks.

“Lone wolves”? No, says Képel, because they’ve already been “formatted,” conditioned by social networks full of what he calls “angry entrepreneurs.”

These “rage entrepreneurs,” these gurus, Képel explains, name goals but don’t give orders because they don’t need to give them.

Already radicalized people understand what is expected of them and take action.

Sunni Islam (85% of believers) makes this particularly easy as it has no official clergy with authority over all believers.

Far from being isolated, these radicalized people are bathed in an atmospheric jihadism, a veritable ideological ecosystem.

In this ecosystem we find everything: virulent denunciation of the entire West, resumption of the fight against racism, “Islamophobic” denigration of the slightest criticism, attacks on the concept of supposedly libertarian secularism, many years of work to enforce and trivialize the clothing symbols of strict Islam, etc.

Whether violence or peaceful activism, it is about creating a real “culture of rupture” with our societies and their values, said Képel on Europe 1 radio last year.

This counter-culture, this parallel society, a genuine ethical and civilizational separatism, naturally turns anyone who does not comply into an “infidel,” a less-than-good person, a “seeker.”

Let us understand: You don’t tolerate violence because you wear a badge, says Képel, but you participate in the construction and legitimacy of a parallel culture that breaks with several basic values ​​of our societies.

As if it weren’t complicated enough, ignoramuses from home will help normalize this politico-religious separatism, even making it cool and glamorous, by publicizing in the name of “openness” and “diversity” the stereotypes of the radicalized Islam.

What to do ?

In the Sunday edition of Le Monde, Képel wrote:

“This recurring threat calls for heightened vigilance in the face of separatist logics that seek to divide our societies by tearing their fabric along sectarian and exclusive lines. »

It was necessary “to mobilize the entire society, including our Muslim compatriots, the first victims of this atmospheric jihadism”.

In short, the struggle will be intellectual as well as political and police.

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