The Narrative of Contemporary Islamism as Unhistorical Book Faith

Essen, 17 January 2017

At the third lecture of the series 'Narratives of the Extreme', Susanne Schröter of the Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam (FFGI) and Aladin El-Mafaalani, University of Applied Sciences Münster, critically discussed the narratives and discourses underlying current islamistic fundamentalism.
In her speech, Schröter identified several narratives offered by Salafism, among them the main narrative of 'justice, a god-like order, and to be the chosen one'. Especially the side-narrative 'Salafism and jihadism are fun' attract more children and adolescents, according to El-Mafaalani. The sociologist himself has been able to go into the German Salafist scene and make numerous observations. It was important for El-Mafaalani to explain this youth culture, for as such he identifies salafism in Germany, not purely in theological way. Especially for the entrance into the scene, the spiritual first plays hardly a role. The integration into the group and the possibilities of differentiation to the parents are more important. He explains the attractiveness of salafism for children and adolescents with the three terms: protest, provocation and plausibility. This is a simple argumentative narrative of Salafism: Only a very religious life, with a literal reading of Islam, brings greatness and recognition to Muslims worldwide.
At the end of the event, both Schröter and El-Mafaalani pointed out that the future challenge of this salafistic youth culture would be the grown up, who will be parents or teachers for example.

Susanne Schröter, Ethnologist, Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam (FFGI)
Aladin El-Mafaalani, Political Scientist, University of Applied Sciences Münster

Jo Reichertz (KWI)

About the event series:
The lecture is part of the series 'Narratives of the Extreme' from November 2016 to January 2017 that is co-organized by the Centre and the KWI. The series covers various discursive and practical radicalizations that dominate our current media scene and asks which strategies are implemented by extremists to make such radical – and that means mainly totalitarian and closed – worldviews attractive to gain more adherents and to bring radical thinking right into the middle of society. The current challenge for cultural sciences is the reification of the debate. For this purpose, the events seek to present different perspectives and discourses and their intrinsic logics, functions and modes of action.

Date: 17 January 2017, 19.00-21.00 h
Venue: Institute for Advanced Studiy in the Humanites (KWI), Gartensaal, Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen