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Réforme et politique dans le monde arabe

Alain Roussillon

Radical Islam After 11 September

Alain Roussillon

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  • 1 This article was published in The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs(...)
  • 2 Unless you consider the occasional religious acts of violence, no matter how murderous, in which fu (...)

1On 17 November 1997, a group of Islamic militants carried out the bloodiest assault ever committed in Egypt, killing 62 persons, including 58 tourists who were visiting the Valley of the Queens. This assault horrified both Egyptian and international public opinion and kept tourists away from the country for several years. It occurred more than a decade after1 the beginning of a violent confrontation between the police forces and the Islamic radical groups and the merciless repression that transformed all of Upper Egypt – except for Luxor and Aswan, considered “secure” areas (or so the authorities believed) – and the peripheries of Cairo and Alexandria into a veritable war zone. The Egyptian regime had been unable to put an end to these increasingly audacious operations which culminated in the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak himself in Addis Ababa in June 1995. However, far from triggering a dreaded escalation of violence, this attack distinctly marked the end of Islamic violence on Egyptian territory2. On the one hand, it supplied the opportunity or pretext for a “farewell to arms” by many militants who became aware of the risks of “an Algerian-type spiral”, discreetly negotiated with the powers by mediators like Sheikh Sha‘rawi or militant islamist lawyer Muntasir al-Zayyat. De facto, this led to a truce, while the militants who preferred to continue the “Jihad” could join those who, like Osama Bin Laden’s future “right hand”, Aywan al-Zawahiri, were already established in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the Luxor assault provided the Egyptian authorities with the opportunity to “update” their strategy in dealing with the different factions of the Islamic movement. This included more tolerance, under strict supervision, for the process of local “islamisation” – districts, villages, businesses, etc. – gradually freeing militants from prison, but at the same time increasing judicial harassment of the Muslim Brotherhood whose global project of islamisation of the government appeared, in the long run, to be more dangerous for the regime than “local radicalism”.

  • 3 Fukuyama 2001 : 17.
  • 4 For example, Farhad Khossrokhavar in “La victoire d’Oussama Ben Laden”, Le Monde, 23 November 2001.

2One might ask, maintaining due proportions and going beyond Egypt to the Muslim world or indeed the planet itself and considering the “universalisation” of the confrontation that these attacks set off, whether the 11 September attacks are of the same kind and could produce the same kind of update in dealing with what, during the last three decades, we have become accustomed to defining as “Islamist”, both in the Arab world where it confronts regimes, and elsewhere, namely in South East Asia, where different forms of activism converge under the banner of Islam. We could be at a “bifurcation” of the course of events and history, a branching that would modify the “international statute” of Islam. But we don’t know where it will lead : towards a confirmation of the emergence of Islam as a new “green peril” in lieu of a “yellow peril” or a “red peril”, according to Samuel Huntington’s prediction of an inevitable “clash of civilisations” or the progressive normalisation of Islam under the combined logic of market globalisation and post modern communication, and the renunciation by Muslims themselves, somehow “awakened” by the shock of 11 September, of the “exceptionalism” underlying Islamist activism, thus confirming Francis Fukuyama’s statement that “we are always at the end of history3”. Or perhaps even, referring to the terms of the discussions held in Europe and the US before the attacks in the small world of expertise on Islamic matters – of which some of the more prominent representatives quickly had to review their analyses : Bin Laden’s Jihad may already have produced its effect and accomplished the “cultural revolution” of Sunnite Islamism initiated in the camps in Afghanistan by creating an unatonable antagonism between the West – modernity – and the Muslim masses who, from Indonesia to Morocco through Africa and Central Asia, have reportedly made him their new hero4 ? Or could it be that, in their enormity and lack of strategic perspective, the 11 September attacks paradoxically confirm the failure of political Islam, and will accelerate the process of decline that Islamism is said to be undergoing ? And if this is the case, what will “post-lslamism” be like ? Rampant secularisation allowing progressive access of Muslim society to modernity or a return to traditionalism further aggravating the “backwardness” of Muslim societies ?

3Needless to say, no attempt will be made here to answer these questions, which, in the present circumstances remain, in the literal meaning of the term, “undecidable” until we know how the American crusade against the “axis of evil” shapes up. At best, an attempt can be made to show how they could be articulated and, above all, to determine in what terms they can – or cannot – be applied to the diversities of a “Muslim world” that, until now, remains “virtual”.

Osama Bin Laden, hero of the Muslim world ?

  • 5 See the dossier in Le Monde, “De Dakar à Djakarta : les musulmans face à la guerre”, 11 December 20 (...)

4It is no secret that the attacks on the United States of 11 September 2001 caused spontaneous reactions of satisfaction, almost jubilation (of the kind : “they asked for it...”, “now they’ll see what it’s like...”), in the public opinion of Arab and Muslim countries – but also of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where the populations feel sacrificed to American interests – more or less complacently reported by the Western media5. These reactions remained essentially “spontaneous” and “single episodes” and – with the exception of Pakistan, due to its closeness to Afghanistan, and exuberant Indonesia, where demonstrations in favour of Bin Laden did, in fact, take place – did not result in actual mobilisation as was the case, instead, at the time of the “Desert Storm” operations against Iraq in January 1991 : Nowhere in the Arab world did Islamist groups try to spark it, for example, by taking advantage of Friday prayers or by inciting students to leave the campus.

5The various Islamist groups, both “radicals” and “moderates”, seem therefore to have come to the conclusion that the authors of the attacks tried somehow to take them hostage, to “capture” their clientele by fomenting street riots, taking it for granted that if widespread demonstrations occurred, they would have no choice but to follow suit and launch themselves into a confrontation with the regimes in power.

6Such a confrontation was carefully avoided everywhere. In Iran itself, it was not the American operations against Taliban Afghanistan – a regime far from being considered in odour of sanctity in Tehran – that caused mass demonstrations, but the statements by US President George W. Bush regarding the “axis of evil”. Apart from the various contexts of “moderation” or “radicalism” attributed them – how these classifications are set up will be returned to later – and beyond the terms used to express them, attention should be drawn to the remarkable convergence of views among the different Islamist movements with respect to both the attacks themselves and the new planetary “state of things” that they have contributed to creating. This convergence can be seen with regard to three matters : relations between Islam and “the West”, the evolution of the regimes in power, and the future of the Islamist project.

7Everywhere, except again for Pakistan, the unanimous reaction of the organ- isations generally identified as Islamist was, like the official religious one, an unequivocal condemnation of the attacks, delegitimised by Islam both in objective and in method, in more or less the same terms, whether by Sunnites or Shiites, partisans of the Jihad or those militants committed to “formal” political participation.

  • 6 Statements made to the AFP taken from the web site of the American Academy of Religion, http://grou (...)

8The Ayatollah Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual head of the Lebanese Hezbollah, declared that he was “horrified” by the “barbaric” attacks that cannot be considered as “operations of martyrdom which are carried out with the aim of the Jihad, with legitimate means and in circumstances which justify those means” but should be labelled as “acts of suicide which are not rewarded (by Islam) because they are crimes”, adding that if “we are opposed to the American government because of its absolute support for the Zionist enemy (...) we want to be friends with the American people and we can by no means blame the American people and carry out such barbaric acts6”.

9Sheikh Youssef al-Qardhawi, ideologist of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and of many other Sunnite groups, declared :

  • 7 Statements made to the Al-Jazeera chain, 16 September 2001.

“We must differentiate between two types of terror : the terror of those defending their homeland and their rights... This kind of terror is legitimate. The Palestinian factions defending their land, such as Fath, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, are not terrorists. [It is] a Jihad for the sake of Allah.... Even if the US is guilty, in that it supports this Israeli terror, I say that this does not mean that we may attack civilians in the US, because the civilians are not guilty. We should fight the American military if we can, and if we cannot, we should fight the US economically and politically7”.

10Montasir al-Zayyat, militant lawyer specialised in defending Egyptian radical Islamists, who introduced himself in a recent book as a representative of “self criticism from within the Islamic movement”, affirmed that he was one to

  • 8 In an interview with Time, 31 January 2002, following publication of his book, al-Zayyat 2002, http (...)

“personally believe that he (Ayman al-Zawahiri, to whom he attributes, more than to Bin Laden himself, the responsibility for the attacks) has caused a catastrophe, the biggest catastrophe that befell the Islamic movement. He made us a chewable morsel of bread under America’s jaws, to kill and fight us under the assumption that we are all terrorists responsible for 11 September. He led to the downfall of a country that used to offer refuge to Islamists who were on the run from their country. Governments started to chase individuals and groups that had nothing to do with violence8”.

  • 9 I. Siddiqui, “The West, Osama Bin Laden and the global Islamic movement”, Crescent International, 1 (...)

11The editorial writer of a pro-Iranian publication, in agreement with “those who uphold the teachings of the Koran on military matters”, stated that “Muslims cannot be unrestrained in their strategies of war, as other peoples often have been” and that “the proper Muslim response to the current situation was shown by Imam Khamenei who condemned the attacks, sympathised with the American people, but also pointed out why America is hated so much, and that its response – particularly its attacks on Afghanistan – is as totally unacceptable as the attacks on America9”.

12An equally widespread conviction is that the attacks served as a pretext for the United States to execute a pre-established plan, one, in fact, that was drawn up during the war against Iraq, aimed at Islam perse and control of the oil and gas resources in Central Asia. That is, without formal proof from the Americans – even though Osama Bin Laden’s quasi confession has made it difficult to deny his guilt – the attack was taken as a “lateral blow” aimed at justifying a preordained offensive. To that end, either the CIA and the FBI, having been given due warning, turned a blind eye, or Osama Bin Laden was manipulated.

  • 10 Ibid.

“The West has deliberately promoted Osama Bin Laden as the face of the Islamic movement, and as the West’s main enemy, for reasons of its own that many Muslims fail to understand. It suits the West to have a single man identified as the root of anti- Western feeling and resistance in the Muslim world, in order to be able to dismiss all such movements as marginal and irrelevant10.”

  • 11 Quoted from the web site in English

13The suspicion here is the same as during the war against Iraq when the United States allegedly did nothing to dissuade Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait, even though US satellites could not possibly have missed the concentration of Iraqi troops, and might even have implicitly incited him in order to destroy the last Arab state that was in a position to threaten Israel and strengthen their hold on the peninsula’s oil fields. Furthermore, the belief that there was a pre-established American or American-Zionist plan seems to be shared by very large sectors of Arab public opinion and has, in such places as Palestine, Lebanon and Iran represented the basis for a tactical alliance of Islamists and nationalists against the United States. “The big question”, states the Lebanese Hezbollah in a press release, “is whether what the American administration is planning really has to do with responding to the perpetrators of the latest attacks, or whether it wants to exploit those tragic events to exercise more hegemony over the world and practice more unjust policies which have led to this level of hate against the US by many peoples and governments in the world11”.

  • 12 The list could be long: a web site dear to Pakistan and the Talibans,, named after on (...)

14In any case, the unappealable condemnation of the attacks matched that of the American operations against Afghanistan – “infinite terrorism that would spawn more terrorism”, according to Hussein Fadlallah – and the assertion of the right, especially of the Palestinians, to use every means to liberate their territories. But beyond sweeping denunciations – the West’s war is not on terrorists, or on Bin Laden. It is on political Islam generally, the only non-western world view that survives to offer an alternative to Western hegemony, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike – the 11 September attacks have offered the different factions in the Islamist movements in the Arab world the opportunity for a double repositioning : in relation to the resort to violence, and in particular with reference to the Jihad itself. The distancing from Bin Laden’s “terrorism” has made it possible to reassert a “defensive jihad” which reserves the right for legitimate use of violenc – including suicide operations – in the event Muslims are attacked or their territories occupied12 and which condemns, in principle, violence between Muslims – including against existing regimes.

  • 13 Press release of 31 January 2002, that can be consulted on the web site of the Islamic Resistance M (...)

15Thus the Palestinian Hamas urges “leaders of the Arab and Islamic countries and their governments to adopt an Arab-Islamic definition of terrorism and to insist on differentiating it from resistance in confrontation of the American- Zionist attempts to mix things up13”. As Diaa Rashwan, of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo also writes, it is a refocusing on Palestine :

  • 14 D. Rashwan, “Wishful thinking, present and future”, Al-AhramWeekly, 7-13 February 2002.

“Radical Islamic groupings began to reorient their vision outwards, away from their societies, toward issues among which there is the widespread popular and official consensus in the Arab and Islamic worlds [...] This war is truer to the real meaning of Jihad and to the spirit of national resistance being waged by the other groups that call themselves Islamic, but that focus their energies on resisting the Israeli occupation of their land, not on killing the rulers and citizens of their own countries on the basis of spurious condemnations of heresy14.”

16Under these conditions, it’s unlikely that Osama Bin Laden can emerge as the new “hero” of Islamist Arabs, except among those who had already joined him in Afghanistan in the nineties. On the one hand, in those contexts, such as Egypt, Morocco or Jordan, but also industrialised countries, where Islamists seem to have chosen to impose their participation in a “formal” political game on the regimes in power – in some cases invoking democracy and human rights –, they have not failed to conclude that Osama Bin Laden has rendered them a disservice by strengthening the position of the existing powers, giving them the chance to turn the accusation of terrorism or support for terrorists against them. On the other hand, the turn of events in Palestine proves that the 11 September attacks served the purposes of Ariel Sharon, backed by the Americans in the name of the fight against terrorism which Yasser Arafat is now accused of supporting, or even engaging in himself.

The Islamists and the two-sided game of the regimes in power

  • 15 On this episode, Issandr el-Amrani commented: “The double game of the government in regards to the (...)
  • 16 In a joint editorial published on 12 October 2001.
  • 17 “Egypt targets global Islamic movement in service of global state terrorism”, Crescent Internationa (...)

17On Friday, 12 October 2001, one month after the attacks and less than a week after the beginning of the American raids in Afghanistan, the very moderate Sheikh Mohamed al-Tantawi, rector of Al-Azhar, invited two prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayf al-Islam Hassan al-Banna, son of the founder of the association, and ‘Isam al-Aryan, head of the “young guard” of the Brotherhood, to give a sermon in the presence of Ibrahim Choukri, leader of the Egyptian Labour party. They were therefore given the chance to condemn the American operation in Afghanistan in this central religious institution, thereby implying that the unofficial position of the government was not distant from that of the Islamists, despite official support for the American anti-terrorist campaign15. Two days before, al-Musawwar magazine announced that several weeks earlier, before the 11 September attacks, the Egyptian police had dismantled a terrorist group which was about to carry out assaults in Egypt. More than 200 of those accused were referred to military tribunals for what was presented as one of the greatest legal actions against “extremists” since the assassination of Anwar al Sadat. This was not sufficient to stop the American press, with the International Herald Tribune and Washington Post in the lead16, from denouncing the Egyptian regime as being “autocratic”, “politically exhausted” and “morally bankrupt” and resorting to “torture and massacres to check Islamic extremism” while “encouraging state-controlled clerics and media to promote the anti-Western, anti-modern and anti-Jewish propaganda of the Islamic extremists”. Only a month later, the authorities announced the arrest of more than 90 persons, mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, accused of having prepared attacks against American, Israeli and Russian interests. Their lawyer (the same Muntasir al-Zayyat) claimed that his clients could only be reproached for collecting funds to support the Intifada al-Aqsa and the Islamic resistance in Palestine, “by which they were only interpreting the will of the Egyptian people17”. In actual fact, this corresponds exactly to the American definition of “support of terrorism”.

  • 18 This emerged very clearly in Egypt where yesterday’s “moderates” – the Muslim Brotherhood – have be (...)

18This train of events leads to a hypothesis which applies not only to Egypt : that the future of relations between a political Islam that has chosen mainly to be integrated into existing political structures and regimes that have not yet responded to this offer of normalisation depends essentially on the options that will be chosen by these regimes : in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but also in the Maghreb – all countries whose nationals have been involved massively, it would appear, in the preparation and execution of the 11 September attacks and in the al-Qaeda network – it is clearly the governing powers that draw the line between “moderates” and “radicals”, between inclusion and exclusion from the political system. And it is this difference that determines, first and foremost, the margin within which the various Islamist groups can manoeuvre and act18. The question is, among others, what kind of pressure the United States can exert on countries in its sphere of influence – two billion dollars annually of American civil aid to Egypt, three and a half billion dollars to Jordan during the nineties – to have them declare this or that component of the local political scene a “terrorist” or a “supporter of terrorism”.

19From this point of view, the measures adopted by the American authorities against certain Muslim charities or cultural foundations operating on American territory and accused of supporting terrorism, particularly in Palestine, could be regarded as precedents and extended to that area – for instance, the blocking of the Barakat bank, the most important Somali financial establishment in the United States and the Gulf, which paralysed the transfer of remittances of Somali emigrants, often vital for the survival of their families.

20The evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to constitute the second factor that could be expected to influence a reconfiguration of relations between the different factions of the Islamic movements and the existing regimes. On the one hand, what is happening in Palestine – notwithstanding the probable US intervention against certain Arab countries, especially Iraq and Somalia, but also Iran – could be a powerful mobilisation factor for the Islamists and also a possible cause of increased tensions between them and the regimes, convinced by their dependence upon the United States to remain passive. On the other hand, these regimes could also be tempted to use the Islamists to extend their margin of manoeuvre and to avoid this kind of pressure.

In conclusion : what sort of post-lslamism ?

  • 19 Piscatori 1991.

21As James Piscatori wrote concerning the reactions of the different factions of the Islamist movement in different contexts to the war against Iraq, “Muslim identities have been influenced by a variety of social experiences – race, class, nation, ethnicity and education, among them19”, underlining both the variety of these reactions and the fact that their common denominator is that they all originate from similar relations with the West. The 11 September attacks seem unlikely to produce uniform effects on the different factions, no more so than the second Gulf war. On the contrary, they could perhaps accentuate the contrast between Asia and South East or Central Asia, the Arab world or African Islam, unless the American “crusade” against terrorism manages to unite the “Muslim world” which is, until now, only virtual.

  • 20 For example, the debates that took place in Iran. Khossrokhavar, Roy 1999.

22In any case, these attacks lead us to reconsider the hypothesis that is gradually gaining currency among mostly – but not only20 – prominent Western observers of the contemporary Muslim scene, a hypothesis that envisages a “decline of Islamism” and the entry of Muslim societies in the “post-Islamist” era. Before the 11 September attacks, the emergence of post-Islamism seemed to present two distinct scenarios or perhaps a combination of both :

  • 21 Kepel 2000.
  • 22 Please note that the internet is also one of the tools of Islamic radicalism. On Islam and Internet (...)
  • 23 Roy 2000: 354-355.

23According to Gilles Kepel21, the victory of governments over Islamist radicalism – but also over the “moderates” – seemed inseparable from the planetary domination imposed by the industrialised West on the various components of the “Muslim world” coinciding with the victory of the “free world” over the progressive nationalistic Utopias supported by the Soviet Union. The victorious war of the West and its allies against Iraq was seen as a sort of apogee of this domination. The crucial point of G. Kepel’s analysis is that the Western victory in the Gulf war was simultaneously a victory over those Islamists who were ready to side with the vanquished, despite Saddam Hussein’s feeble Islamic credentials, and also over the existing regimes whose dependence on the West had been openly confirmed, and over the Muslim societies themselves, pious bourgeoisies and poor urban youths whose mobilisation and demonstrations had failed to change the course of events. An indissoluble military and moral victory in which what is important is not so much the defeat of Saddam and his followers but the indisputable political, organisational and even moral superiority of the Western societies. Hence G. Kepel’s “wager” that after the failure of nationalism and Islamism, liberalism remains the only political formula yet to be tried in Muslim societies, since their economies are already deeply entangled in the new liberal international division of labour and follow the consumer fashions, especially in apparel and leisure, imposed on the planet by globalisation. Islamism is “blending” into the markets, the Internet22 and human rights, of which the Islamists were incontestably the first to be dispossessed and of which certain intellectuals are now discovering themselves advocates, alongside their “secular” colleagues. It is not the time for – or at least not yet the time for – a secular state, but perhaps a “Muslim democracy”, as one speaks of “Christian democracy”, for which the formula still has to be invented, during what would appear to be a transition period of hopes and doubts “evoking the debates about ‘post-communism’ in the former Soviet societies23”.

  • 24 Roy 1992: 105.
  • 25 Roy 1999: 10.
  • 26 Roy 1999: 10.
  • 27 Roy 1999: 68.

24Given Islam’s political failure to achieve a Utopia – an Islamic revolution as a means of promoting a just and virtuous future Islamic society –, Olivier Roy prefers the theory that the “ebb of political Islamism will be accompanied by the advance of Islam as a social phenomenon24” : the spread of neo-fundamentalist attitudes, founded on strict codes and religious obligations defined apart from any reference to politics, or, more specifically, to the exercise of power, as “fundamental” for the identity of the community and its members, who would participate nonetheless in “the individualisation of religiousness and the rejection of the state, despite the debate on an umma now no more than imaginary25”, strengthening the ulema’s position in the state apparatus, “which negotiates with [them] on the sphere in which to exercise its social control, thus reducing the Islamic project to customs and rights, but leaving their autonomy to the politics that instrumentalise them26”. The counterpart of what looks like an Islamic “over-politisation” of religion is not “laicism” but the emergence of a “secularisation” of religious attitudes and practices, “not the de-islamisation of society but rather an individual or corporate re-appropriation of religion. In short, a sort of privatisation27”, which, he underlines, fits in well with the logic of market economy and rising consumerist aspirations.

  • 28 See “La censure, ou comment la contourner”, Égypte/Monde arabe, no 3, 2000.

25It would be imprudent and presumptuous at present to anticipate how the 11 September attacks would be likely to affect these two “scenarios”. In contrast to the “soft” globalisation envisaged by Kepel, the terrorist networks, firmly rooted in the heart of Western societies of which they have ably exploited the resources, oppose a model in which the internet, the markets, including the financial market, and the constitutional state, with its inherent liberties, can be turned around and used destructively, as has been seen, against the same “modernity” that produced it. As for the theory of a religious privatisation/individualism on conservative and “retraditionalising” bases as suggested by Roy, convincing as they may seem with regard, for example, to Iran’s evolution, we might ask if it does not conceal some wishful thinking, in underestimating the interplay of the existing regimes’ renewed control over the religious sphere : after all, it was not the Islamists, in Egypt, who took it out on the university professor Nasr Abou Zayd, separated from his spouse by a court order for apostasy, nor did they organise the round-ups of homosexuals, condemned for “sectarian” sexual conduct presented as incompatible with Islam, nor are they behind the ever more kafkian censorship that comes into play as soon as sex or beliefs are at stake28. In actual fact, this is all the work of certain ultra-conservative circles in the gov- ernment who want to please their clientele and distract attention from the gravity of the country’s economic crisis. In the gap between these two scenarios, one thing is certain, that the 11 September attacks will contribute to hardening the line of division between those who, in the Muslim societies, are searching for ways to coexist with the West and those who strongly believe that the “axis of evil” passes through Washington.


al-Zayyat, Al Zawabiri as I knew him (in Arabic), Cairo, n.d., January 2002.

Fukuyama Francis., “Nous sommes toujours à la fin de l’histoire”, Le Monde, 18 October 2001, p. 17.

Kepel Gilles, Jihad. Expansion et déclin de l’islamisme, Paris, Gallimard, 2000.

Roy Olivier and Khosrokhavar Farhad, Iran : comment sortir d’une révolution religieuse, Paris, Le Seuil, 1999.

Piscatori James, “Religion and Realpolitik : Islamic responses to the Gulf war”, in Piscatori J. (ed.), Islamic Fundamentalism and the Gulf Crisis, Chicago, The Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1991.

Rousillon Alain, “État, islamistes et reproduction de la violence politique en Égypte”, Annuaire de la Méditerranée, 1998, p. 57-71.

Roy Olivier, L’échec de l’islam politique, Paris, Le Seuil, 1992.

—, ”Le post-islamisme”, Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, no 85-86, 1999.

—, “La communauté virtuelle. L’Internet et la déterritorialisation de l’Islam”, in J.-P. Esquenazi and R. Odin (eds), Cinéma et réception, Paris, Hermès, 2000.


1 This article was published in The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs, no 37/1, 2002, p. 35-45:

2 Unless you consider the occasional religious acts of violence, no matter how murderous, in which fundamentalists are often involved. As regards the perspective of this particular attack, please refer to Roussillon 1998: 57-71.

3 Fukuyama 2001 : 17.

4 For example, Farhad Khossrokhavar in “La victoire d’Oussama Ben Laden”, Le Monde, 23 November 2001.

5 See the dossier in Le Monde, “De Dakar à Djakarta : les musulmans face à la guerre”, 11 December 2001. We would like to remind readers that the some of the first scenes of jubilation in the Palestinian streets broadcast by CNN the day after the attacks were actually filmed during the Gulf war, at the time of the Iraqi missile attack on Israel.

6 Statements made to the AFP taken from the web site of the American Academy of Religion, http://groups.

7 Statements made to the Al-Jazeera chain, 16 September 2001.

8 In an interview with Time, 31 January 2002, following publication of his book, al-Zayyat 2002, me/daily/0,9868,00.html.

9 I. Siddiqui, “The West, Osama Bin Laden and the global Islamic movement”, Crescent International, 16-30 October 2001,

10 Ibid.

11 Quoted from the web site in English

12 The list could be long: a web site dear to Pakistan and the Talibans,, named after one of the first protagonists of the Afghan Jihad, assassinated in 1989 in Peshawar, draws a map of “jihad Land” in Europe: Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya; in Asia: Turkestan, Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia; the Middle East and Central and Southern Asia: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kashmir, the Lebanon, Palestine; in Africa: the Sudan, Eritrea, Ogaden.

13 Press release of 31 January 2002, that can be consulted on the web site of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas),

14 D. Rashwan, “Wishful thinking, present and future”, Al-AhramWeekly, 7-13 February 2002.

15 On this episode, Issandr el-Amrani commented: “The double game of the government in regards to the Islamists: to justify its lukewarm support to the ‘war against terrorism’, the Egyptian government invoked pressure of an opinion that it discreetly encourages to radicalise itself”, Cairo Times, appeared in the Courrier international, no 574, 31 October - 7 November 2001, p. 41.

16 In a joint editorial published on 12 October 2001.

17 “Egypt targets global Islamic movement in service of global state terrorism”, Crescent International, 16-31 December 2001.

18 This emerged very clearly in Egypt where yesterday’s “moderates” – the Muslim Brotherhood – have become the principal target of the regime, whereas former “radicals”, advocates of the most literal, fundamentalist ideas, are now leading figures.

19 Piscatori 1991.

20 For example, the debates that took place in Iran. Khossrokhavar, Roy 1999.

21 Kepel 2000.

22 Please note that the internet is also one of the tools of Islamic radicalism. On Islam and Internet Roy 2000.

23 Roy 2000: 354-355.

24 Roy 1992: 105.

25 Roy 1999: 10.

26 Roy 1999: 10.

27 Roy 1999: 68.

28 See “La censure, ou comment la contourner”, Égypte/Monde arabe, no 3, 2000.

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