Atlantico: What today is pushing young people to jihad? To what extent can we say that we are talking about a kind of protest movement?
Michel Maffesoli: Such phenomena should not be viewed through the prism of his usual policy or geopolitics. Youth protest movements developed in the political conditions of the republic and democracy. For them, the goal was to protest against the government and seek its shift to a new one that would hold different values and pursued other goals, but again within the Republican or, in any case, the policy environment. I do not think the same thing we can say about these young people who are discovering Islamism.
They have, I think, there is no clear political perception. Their classmates said that as soon as they are fully accepted these ideas (rather quickly, in just one academic quarter), they retreated into himself, his secret. Jihad – is prohibited (open participation in it is a violation of the rules) and a secret affair. We also now there is a growing interest in the esoteric groups and secret societies. As noted by the sociologist Georg Simmel great, secret societies give young people the basis of communication and thus ensure their relationship with the Islamist movement through mystical or esoteric search, not political ideology.
I would compare the current situation with the phenomenon of “flight” of teenagers, which is described in detail in the literature and poetry. Hunt Molné and Francois, who sought to find an enchanted castle, seem to me much more relevant comparison than thinking leftist protest groups.
Farhad Hosrohavar: Of course, here we have the kind of protest. First, it is a protest against the plight of Muslim martyrs in Syria. These Islamists pursue an imaginary ideal, ideal Communities and transnational solidarity. In addition, they feel a sense of responsibility. They go on jihad is not how much force the Islamic tradition, but because of the media who are always talking about the events in Syria.
Moreover, here there is a protest against the entire Western system, not France alone, if we are talking about the French radicals. Germans, an Englishman, the Belgians and the Danes also go on jihad. If the French were angry Islamists is the French system, they would rather hit France. So it was with a measure of Mohammed and his jihad in Toulouse. However, when the young Islamists go to Syria, they express dissatisfaction with the unwillingness of France to help this country, where civil war rages.
Also, we must mention the people converted to Islam, who have no Muslim roots. They take the path of jihad to meet its domestic needs, to become part of the community and commit heroic deeds. And because things in their native Europe are not the best way.
– Why do these young people increasingly looking towards jihad and not other protest movements? This is some special form of protest?
Michel Maffesoli: Yes, he really seems to be something special in comparison with a variety of left-wing, “green” and the extremist movements, which at one time attracted some young people.
This feature is to make demands and belonging to a community (although interfere in one pile Islam and Jihad is certainly not worth it). In their view, jihad – is the ultimate manifestation due to Islam, which seeks to become ubiquitous and omnipotent. From this perspective, it contrasts sharply with their normal lives in which they or their parents had to abandon the cultural and historical roots. In some ways, Islamist heroes – the same as what was Robin Hood for the peasants or anarchist terrorists for Russian men.
And it is even more important that they belong to the communities collective expression of faith which mostly faced with a variety of constraints, whether the ban hijab in schools, unavailability of certain products, etc. That is, here we see more than a manifestation of political ideology, and the desire to belong to a certain community. And the imagined community, because they are unlikely to understand the geopolitical well motivated their decision.
Much of the knowledge they receive is not a direct and concrete, and goes through the photos, videos and the Internet, and so they emotionally identify with imaginary characters.
Frhad Hosrohavar: Besides Jihad mentioned two types of protest movements: the ultra-right and ultra-left. Ultra-right anti-Islamic movements peculiar mood and therefore they can not be the answer for a certain teenage rebellion. As for the ultra with the protest viewpoint, they practically no interest. They were active in the 1970-1980’s, when there were such movements as the “Red Brigades” in Italy, “direct action” in France and “Red Army Faction” in Germany. Today it jihad becomes pronounced communal and anti-imperialist overtones.
– Can we say that today in jihad go for the same reasons, which in the past became punks?
Michel Maffesoli: In the last third of the last century punks, like the first movement of “green” and in some way the Situationists , anticipated changes in the political struggle: it is not the desire to implement a project or program and the desire to change the world, and the need to live for today , right here and now follow their desires, impulses and emotions.
From this perspective, the departure of young people in another country, the beginning of a new life outside of the established framework can be regarded as a phenomenon of the same order.
In addition, it seems to me that they express a kind of detachment, the inability of their “community” to express themselves in France. So, again, the traditional French rejection of such communities only strengthens the insulating gusts.
Farhad Hosrohavar: No, jihad and the punk movement there are very serious differences. In the punk movement of the violence did not play a special role. In jihad youth ready to go to their death. Jihad is based on religion, whereas served basis punk culture. Thus, as the protest movement, jihad is much more radical.