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© 2020

Al Muhajiroun

A Case Study in Contemporary Islamic Activism

Book

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

Grounded in nine years of ethnographic research on the al Muhajiroun/Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah movement (ALM/ASWJ), Douglas Weeks mixes ethnography and traditional research methods to tell the complete story of al Muhajiroun. Beginning with three core events that became a primer for radical Islamic political thought in the UK, Al Muhajiroun, A Case Study in Islamic Activism traces the development of the movement form its incipient beginnings to its current status. Based on his extensive interaction with the group and its leaders, Weeks contextualizes the history, beliefs, methods, and differences between ALM/ASWJ, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State so that the group and the threat it poses is comprehensively understood. 

Douglas Weeks is a Lecturer at California State University Long Beach. Before entering academia, Dr. Weeks spent 29 years as a firefighter and served as Emergency Services and Counter-terrorism Coordinator from 1996 until his retirement in 2009. He specializes in radicalization, deradicalization, and counterterrorism policy.

Keywords

Extremism Terrorism Radicalism Ideology Counter-terrorism Islam Islamism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency ManagementCalifornia State University, Long BeachLong BeachUSA

About the authors

Douglas Weeks is a Lecturer at California State University Long Beach. Before entering academia, Dr. Weeks spent 29 years as a firefighter and served as Emergency Services and Counter-terrorism Coordinator from 1996 until his retirement in 2009. He specializes in radicalization, deradicalization, and counterterrorism policy.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

‘A fascinating and thought-provoking book. Based on nine years of ethnographic research and hundreds of interviews, Douglas Weeks sheds compelling fresh light on Al Muhajiroun and its descendants. In doing so, he challenges many of the assumptions routinely made about the threat Al Muhajiroun posed, as well as about our overall understanding of the nature of radicalisation in the UK.’

—Andrew Silke, Professor of Terrorism, Risk, and Resilience, Cranfield University, UK 

‘This book challenges many of the prevailing assumptions about the nature of Islamist movements, and explores them in a detailed manner that hasn't previously been explored at an anthropological level. Douglas Weeks analyses al Muhajiroun’s claims to theological authenticity whilst avoiding clichés. This book questions many assumptions made by government and commentators trying to connect the likes of al-Muhajiroun and its sister groups to terror today. A must read for everyone involved at an academic or professional level.’ 

—Rashad Ali, Resident Senior Fellow, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, UK 

‘Douglas Weeks has written a fascinating and authoritative ethnographic account of the UK-based extremist group, al Muhajiroun.  In this immensely rich case study, Weeks sheds new light on the dynamics and dimensions of radical Islamist activism and warns of the dangers of government responses that fail to properly contextualize and counter homegrown extremism and radicalization.’

—Professor Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA