Researching the social causes and effects of Islamism

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) program "Societal Causes and Effects of Radical Islam in Germany and Europe"

Radical Islam is challenging Western societies and their liberal order. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, at the latest, it has been perceived as an imminent threat. While at the time the threat came primarily from outside, radical forms of Islam have now become a challenge within our society. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the debates about Islamist "parallel societies" and the large number of young people who have become radicalied in Germany. Islamism - just like left-wing and right-wing extremism - has become part of the social reality in Germany and many European countries.

Radical Islam has many facets: While so-called „purist“ Salafi groups practice their faith peacefully secluded from mainstream society, other groups actively missionise in order to spread their fundamentalist religious views. Yet other Islamist groups try to enforce political aims based on their beliefs, while the means vary depending on the idealogical orientation and can range  from peaceful political activity to the use of violence and terrorist acts.

In view of the heterogeneity and breadth of the phenomenon, one question touches the societal causes for the growth of radical Islam in Germany and Europe. What are societal, political, cultural, and historical reasons for this development? The other question pertains to the effects of different Islamist movements on society in general and to perceived insecurity and threat in particular. Notably, it is to be determined whether processes of polarization, division, and marginalization are being prompted or aggravated.

To answer this array of questions, different projects are funded that support practitioners and decision makers in handling the challenges that arise from radical Islam. To this end, close cooperation with practitioners is being enabled. Projects conducting fundamental research, too, are encouraged to draw conclusions for further application-oriented research and derive practical recommendations for, e.g., necessary preventive measures.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds social, human, and cultural science research in order to support the generation of knowledge to provide a basis for politics and society to deal with radical Islam in Germany and Europe.

Learn about the funding program (in German).