Nihilism and terror: How political is the new jihadism?

Attacks by Islamist terrorists pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) have occurred in Europe with grim regularity over the past few years. Meanwhile it is estimated that thousands of European Muslims have flocked to the Middle East to fight for the group. The character of recent violence seems more random and nihilistic than earlier instances of political violence in the West. Groups like the IRA, ETA and FLN had clear objectives and demands. It is more difficult to discern what the wave of IS-inspired extremists are demanding short of the complete destruction of Western civilisation. There are seemingly no easy answers to what compels individuals to commit acts of violence in which destruction and death seem to be ends in themselves. But is it possible to make any sense of the complex factors involved? How Islamic and how political is Islamist political violence?

Speakers include: Dr Omar Ashour, senior lecturer, Middle East politics and security studies, University of Exeter; Professor Bill Durodi√©, head of department and chair of international relations, University of Bath; Zubeda Limbada, director, ConnectFutures, author, Formers and Families of violent extremists (2015); Emma Webb, research fellow, The Henry Jackson Society, co-author, An Enduring Threat: Europe’s Islamist Terror Networks Then and Now. The chair is Josie Appleton, director, civil liberties group, Manifesto Club, author, Officious: Rise of the Busybody State.