Greetings from the cybercaliphate: some notes on homeland insecurity

One of the paradoxical effects of the 7 July bombings in London was to expose the ambivalence in the British government’s attempt to wage war on terror by forcefully prosecuting war against those who resort to jihad abroad, actively participating in coalitions of the willing whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, while affording some of Islamism’s key ideologists and strategists a high degree of latitude in the United Kingdom itself. This indicates a number of contradictions in official policy that simultaneously recognizes the globalized threat from violent Islamic militancy while, under the rubric of multiculturalism, tolerating those very strains of Islamist radicalism, some of which draw upon the interdependent and transnational character of conflict, to render the UK vulnerable to those very same violent forces. Consequently, the British authorities displayed a studied indifference towards this developing transnational phenomenon both during the 1990s and in some respects even after the London bombings. To explore the curious character of the government’s response to the Islamist threat requires the examination of the emergence of this radical ideological understanding and what it entails as a reaction to modernization and secularism in both thought and practice. The analysis explores how government policies often facilitated the non-negotiable identity politics of those promoting a pure, authentic and regenerated Islamic order both in the UK and abroad. This reflected a profound misunderstanding of the growing source and appeal of radical Islam that can be interpreted as a consequence of the slow-motion collision between modernity in its recent globalized form and an Islamic social character, which renders standard western modernization theory, and indeed, the notion of a ‘social science’ itself, deeply questionable.

Tags: Radicalisation, Violent Jihadism