Monday 20 November 2006, by Burgess Peter
All the versions of this article:
The immediate post-September 11 period produced a flourish of activities on the European level.  These activities are characterized by three types of action: political reorientation with respect to transatlantic politics of the newly declared «war on terror», activities aimed at quickly creating legal and operational tools for use in addressing real and perceived threat in Europe, and a re-examination of the European «homeland» as the possible origin of terrorist threat. The latter type of response, which is most relevant to the Commission’s communication on terrorist recruitment, is however also the slowest to emerge. Though already in its communication of 17 October 2001 the Commission affirms that «efforts to stamp out international terrorism must be underpinned by policies addressing sources of radical discontent»,  the Council Framework Decision of 23 June 2002 on Combating terrorism makes no mention of either radicalisation or recruitment.  In March 2004 the European Security Strategy «Fight against terrorism» affirms that «action must also be taken to address the root causes of insecurity and the factors which contribute to the emergence of terrorism». 
The theme of fundamental European rights in the European quest for security is reiterated in the Commission communication «Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Terrorist Attacks». released October 20, 2004, as integral to the struggle for security against terrorism, underscoring that «security objectives must nevertheless remain compatible with principles of fundamental liberties». In the same context the Commission for the first time officially evokes the concept of «violent radicalisation» linking it to the problem of recruitment: «Opposing violent radicalisation within our societies and disrupting the conditions facilitating the recruitment of terrorists must be fundamental priorities in a strategy to prevent terrorism».  This is the final major statement on the question of recruitment before the Council Declaration on Combating Terrorism, which dedicates one of its seven objectives to «address[ing] the factors which contribute to support for, and recruitment into terrorism». These include (1) identifying factors which «contribute to recruitment», (2) investigating links between «extreme religious or political beliefs, as well as socio-economic and other factors, and support for terrorism», (3) addressing good governance and the rule of law, and (4) implementing a strategy for «cross-cultural and inter-religious understanding between Europe and the Islamic. World». 
It should be added that in the European Union Counter-terrorism strategy released November 30, 2005, that is after the present Communication, the concern for recruitment and violent radicalisation holds a prominent position in the.  In both coherence and completeness the later Counter-terrorism strategy document surpasses considerably the present Commission communication.
Structure and make-up of the Communication
The 6000 word Commission communication consists of a primary document divided into three parts, followed by an annex, itself divided into three parts. The primary document consists of a general introduction, a main section presenting a summary of ongoing efforts by the Commission for and a brief conclusion. The document begins by proposing a definition of «violent radicalisation» (see below) linking the communication to the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism. The section briefly situates the question of violent radicalisation within the European context, both political and historical, linking the Communication to the mandate of the Hague Programme. In its main section on «Strengthening community policies to address violent radicalisation», the Communication reviews ongoing measures taken in view of addressing violent radicalisation. These include the role of the broadcast media in inciting hatred and the internet as a vehicle for recruitment of terrorists. It also examines the role of general education and other cultural programmes such as «inter-cultural dialogues» and «dialogue with religions» for promoting cultural diversity and tolerance as tools in the anti-terror effort. Finally the section addresses the need for advancing the effort through developing external relations. The annex to the Communication consists of a general introduction, followed by two main sections, the first outlining «factors contributing to radicalisation» the second briefly surveys the question of the «root causes of radicalisation».
Key concepts and definitions
The strengths and weaknesses of the Communication lie to a large degree in the quality and coherence of its key concepts and definitions. In a political and cultural debate, both within European Union circles and in the European public sphere it is essential that there be a common understanding of what the questionsare, what the aim of the political and public debate actually is, and who assumes the authorization to define certain groups Europeans and their activities, and in the name of what.
Terrorism.The Commission Communication builds on the definition of terrorism used in the 2002 Framework document. That definition is adequately stable and empirically verifiable to provide both solid basis for both legal actions and police enforcement actions. Article 1 specifies both a typology of concrete acts of terrorism and the necessary condition of the intention of causing terror, intimidation, destabilisation, etc. In addition, the article recalls the importance of respecting fundamental rights in prosecution of terrorists. The illegality of committing one or several of a concretely specified set of violent acts defined as terrorist is thus more or less uncontroversial. The definitional challenge related to violent radicalisation and its prevention is that of intention.
Violent radicalisation. The Introduction to the Commission Communication defines «violent radicalisation» as «the phenomenon of people embracing opinions, views and ideas, which could lead to acts of terrorism as defined in Article 1 of the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism». This definition is to some degree at odds with current research, which regards radicalisation as a gradual evolution («the progressive, personal development from law-abiding Muslim to militant Islamist». ) The gradual process of radicalisation sometimes spans a number of years, involving the dynamics of personal identity formation and change in specific social and cultural contexts. It is therefore important to underscore the progressive and personal nature of radicalisation. Radicalisation is clearly a process that begins with an individual personal experience in a particular cultural and social setting. Radicalisation is a grass-roots process, beginning with the premises of the individual on the local level. There is no evidence of recruitment top-down. 
Though generalization and standardization are naturally necessary in order to affect policy, the analysis of events and the challenge of political action lies precisely in the fact that there is no single unified Islamic community in which radicalisation takes place, or into which any kind of systematic recruitment is possible. Moreover, those groups who indeed advocate religiously justified terrorism have normally already been marginal in the religious setting. 
Recruitment. Recruitment for terrorist violence is understood as an activity that seeks to enlist militant Islamists into an existing terrorist cell. It thus represents the transitionfrom an individual personal belief formed in a particular and cultural social setting to undertaking a larger struggle involving violent activism. It is thus the step beyond what is here termed «violent radicalisation», the nurturing of a certain set of ideas, cultivation of symbols and cultural or religious codes capable. This shift from the individual to collective proves to be the key axis in terrorist recruitment. 
Extremism. «Extremism» and «radicalisation», or, on occasion, «the incitement to commit terrorism» are to some degree used interchangeably throughout the document, for the most part implicitly, at times explicitly. «Terrorism» seems at times to replace «radicalisation» This is unfortunate, firstly since the terms often refer to different situations, different sets of ideas and postures. Secondly, the confusion of terms confuses a process(radicalisation) with a state(extremism). In this sense extremism (2.8) is not forcibly the consequence of radicalisation. It is another step again in the sometimes gradual transformation of a law-abiding Muslim into an a warrior willing to carry out terrorist acts in the name of Islam.
The Commission strategy for strengthening community policy
The main part of the Communication is intended as a preliminary contribution to the development of an EU long-term strategy «to address the factors which contribute to radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist activities». The bulk of part 2 is intended as a presentation of a set of concrete measures addressing the problem of violent radicalisation. The understanding of the nature and causes of violent radicalisation on which these measures are based is at times unclear, and the Annex presents a set of premises which fail to cohere with the proposed measures.
Of the measures proposed, four address challenges of violent radicalisation through potentially direct or indirect access to individuals. These include measures aimed at broadcast media, internet, education, and inter-cultural dialogue. An additional set of four measures assume the top-down, agency-based approaches: law enforcement, expert networks, data collection and external relations. This palette of approaches varies in distance to the field of radicalisation processes, with varying salience for the challenges with which they are concerned.
Media.The measures aimed at broadcast mediaand internetpropose limiting by legislation electronic communication which incites to hate or to «committing terrorism». In general these two types of measures imply the use of legal powers to control electronic communication that might be susceptible to inspiring radicalism, extremism or even terrorism. Such measures do not accord with research that suggests that radicalisation begins on the grass roots level and that broadcast media and internet are not being used in Europe to motivate to radicalisation. What seems more likely is that those individuals already radicalized through personal experience and local contact can find support and information though internet-based or broadcast sources. There is no evidence indicating that terrorist recruitment occurs «via the internet». While it is true that a number of information sources, including the internet, contribute to shaping the field of knowledge and experience of those who are known to be recruited, this image needs to be considerably nuanced. The notion of «internet» itself must be carefully clarified before one can advance the considerably simplified claim that «internet» incites people into becoming violent radical. Furthermore, the measures here proposed are tailored to be used in crafting law and police regulations as an answer to the challenge. As is widely known, top-down regulating of internet material is an immense challenge. It seems more likely that law enforcement agencies have more use of internet for tracking unwanted activities than the cost and effort off limiting information would justify.
Education.The educational measures proposed in the Commission Communication address classical problems of minority relations and integration in Europe. Education is the key, according to the Communication, since it is young people who are most exposed to and impressionable by? terrorist recruitment. The approach to children and young people of school age may be correct, but more clarity is needed both in the aims, means and language. There is little evidence to support the Commission’s assumption that «youngsters» of school age are most vulnerable to «fall prey to violently radical ideas». Nor is it all clear that «violently radically ideas» are the key to «violent radicalism».
Intercultural dialogue.In terms of the content of the proposed educational programmes, the approach is as well-known as the challenge. It advances cultural understanding and cultural exchange on the European level in an attempt to combat racism and xenophobia. Programmes promoting cultural, ethnic and religious integration through inter-cultural dialogue are well-tried in Europe with varying results. Today there are grounds to revisit, re-evaluate and discuss whether or to what degree this integration model has borne fruit.
Law enforcement.The Commission strategy plan is completed by the formulation of a number of measures aimed at law enforcement and political levels. The former encourages the sharing of best practices, operational knowledge and information of a Schengen type, including data-sharing and networks gathering national experts on an international level. Data includes here information produced by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). These will, in particular according to the Communication, focus on producing information concerning those who would do harm against European principled values. If however such values are too construed as static, essentialist, and unresponsive to the actual values of actual Europeans, they end up contributing negatively to the effort to reduce alienation and marginalisation, the dangers at the heart of the radicalisation and recruitment cycle. European values must be seen to be the values of those who participate in European society, at any and all of its levels. Still, the connection between racism and xenophobia, on the one hand, and radicalisation and recruitment, on the other hand, is ambivalent. By «promoting» European values as an element in a campaign against racism, official policies may very well be strengthening a certain kind of discrimination of Muslims.
The operational challenge lies in assuring that the dialogue and other operational efforts take place at a level where it will be of essential use, that is, at the level where processes of radicalisation, on the one hand, and recruitment, on the other take place. Research shows that these vary from one Member State to another, from one regional and local setting to another, from one church or mosque to another.  Efforts at effecting educational values and inter-cultural dialogue must also take place at this level.
The Annex document
In contrast to the Commission Communication the Annex document presents a rich picture of the nature of radicalisation and its relation to terrorist recruitment. While it purports to formulate explicitly the principles and concepts that form the basis of the main document, it is often at odds with the document, both in terms of foundations and facts. In this regard the two main parts of the document occupy two different spheres of knowledge and reflection, though the Annex could––but in some ways fails to––go a long way in casting light on the other. The main sections of the Annex document are in line with the findings of current research, focusing on perceptions of exclusion and marginalization as primary roots of radicalisation. Calling as it does for more research and analysis of the demographics of contact with violent radical groups it suggests a concrete yet open tactic to contributing to knowledge about the transition from radicalisation to recruitment. Like the main document the Annex analysis underscores the role of media in promoting radicalisation, both unwillingly and cynically.
Synthesis and critique
The definition of violent radicalisation is the key to a comprehensive policy debate about how to address terrorism in the European theatre. The measure of violence involved in radicalisation relates directly to the status of the person or the act within the criminal justice system or, relative to international law or even to the ad hoc legal principles deployed in the U.S. led «War on Terror». The main part of the Commission Communication understands violent radicalisation as a phenomenon,a fact or situation that is observed to exist. The Annex, by contrast, joins much of current research by building upon a more process-based conception. By understanding radicalisation as a socially and culturally based evolution in the relationship between individuals over time-based obliges policy to engage in bottom-up study and reaction terrorism. Clearly there is a link between violent radicalisation and terrorist recruitment. Yet the transition manifests pressure on two ends of the process. Surely there is a demand for terrorist warriors on the terminal end of the recruitment process, but there is a set of human needs that lie on the supply end as well, a need for identity and recognition. A rigorous statement from the Commission should provide the grounds for open discussion and reflection on this relation, its dynamics, its scope, meaning and implications.
Values and ideology.It is important to underscore that the sources of radicalisation are not in any general sense «ideological». They are personal, individual, and identity-based. Though identity can also be construed in a complex way as ideological, it is not in the sense of an explicit struggle for the currency of ideas. Construing the fight against violent radicalisation as an ideological struggle thus fails to seize its basis in individual experience of the world, including its ideas, social roles, and cultural identity. Though it inevitably includes ideologically and political and religious references, the process of radicalisation occupies a social and cultural field that has little to do with ideology in the broad sense of the word. By the same token there is not clear evidence that subversion an any ? ordinary sense is the aim of violent radicalisation or even full-fledged terrorism. Even when the extreme Islamist proclaims Jihad in the name of the purity or quashing ??Occidental decadence, it is not with aim of suppressing «indivisible, human values», but rather in an appeals ? to a sense of collective dignity different from that assured in the core principles of the European Union. It is thus perhaps unnecessary and indeed counterproductive to reiterate the invalidity of arguments in favour of terrorist violence made by a tiny minority of radicalized Islamists, already a minority of European Muslims, themselves in a considerable minority of European citizens.
Individual and collective radicalisation.There is no clear evidence that radicalisation takes place in a general or large-scale collective way. Research shows that first-level radicalisation is personal and takes place in small collectivities. However a sense of large-scale imaginary collectivity is a decisive element in radicalisation. It is the formation of a symbolic relation to an imaginary global collective, in the form of a global Jihad (to which the vast majority of Muslims inside and outside of Europe do not subscribe) that gives impetus to radicalisation. Thus «anti-radicalisation measures» must address very specific contexts. Measures aimed at entire populations will have few consequences for the kind of radicalisation that has been associated with terrorist recruitment in Europe.
The call to tolerance.It has been recently argued that the project of Muslim integration has resulted in a kind of exclusion or «othering» through inclusion.  By insisting on tolerance and understanding of Muslims as ethnic and religious others, they become destine to remain as others integrated among us. The «othering» of Islam in the sense has two particularly negative consequences. First, it reduces the enormous cultural diversity of Muslims in Europe to an imagined homogeneous group, encouraging the notion that one attitude and one policy can be appropriate for what is actually an extremely heterogeneous group. Second, the «othering»-through-tolerance approach tends to cultivate the impression that European culture, religion, etc. is by no means changed or enriched by the presence of a «foreign» culture and religion. In other words, it renders unthinkable the prospect that Europe, with approximately 5% of its total population Muslim, is actually itself partly Muslim, that Muslims in Europe are not simply accessory, but rather authentic Europeans. Recognizing that European political culture would not be European without the presence of Muslim culture would obviously have immense impact on strategies for minimizing radicalisation and recruitment. When learning, promoting, or dialoguing about European values it is essential to revisit, revise and re-launch the values in question just as much as it is important to share them.
Beyond integration.Most historical reconstructions of Islamist activity in Europe trace it back to the post-War II need for reconstruction labour, combined with a relaxed attitude toward immigration. Documented participants in terrorist violence are in the majority of cases integrated, even well-established European citizens. Integration, at least in any conventional sense, is thus demonstrably not the necessary and sufficient condition for discouraging either radicalisation or recruitment.  Traditional social models of integration have been in place for decades in Europe. Yet it remains unclear whether the model has an any effect in preventing individuals from starting down the path to radicalisation. Europe is fundamentally Muslim. Europe is experiencing a new kind of minority profile, a post-immigrant minority, in which minorities are either born as European citizens or tightly integrated. For many younger Muslims in Europe today, Islam and its values are a credible, constructive alternative to the weak social structures available in the European public sphere. It is thus less a matter of a need for more tolerance, the rule of the first generation integration model, but rather a need for more recognition and valorisation of the Islamic principles and values, both religious and secular. European political cultural is gradually being brought under the influence of such values. The challenge for the Commission and other European policy makes is to institutionalize such values in a way that is acceptable to the status quo.
A twin document.The principal difficulty in the organization of the strategy presented in the Commission Communication is that it only incidentally or superficially relates to the understanding of the «root causes» of terrorism. These are however the centre of the Annex presentation of the problem. Indeed the strategy section uses different terms and by and large looks at different problems than the Annex. It is more distantly related to the present state of research and is weakened by variable coherence. In the present document the linkage is weak between what is known about processes of violent radicalisation as well as earlier (and later) Commission and Council statements on the principles of prevention of terrorism through addressing violent radicalisation. The measures proposed fail to isolate radicalisation as a key process in the recruitment to extreme behaviour or, as the case may be, terrorism.
 The fact that Europe has a significant pre-history in counter-terrorism activities is frequently overlooked by analysts of current European anti-terrorist policy. On the judicial side it can be traced to creation of the European Political Cooperation (EPC) in the 1970s which had the aim of addressing terrorist incidents perpetrated by indigenous Europeans in the late 1960s and 1970s. Further coordination in EC anti-terrorist legal provisions were introduced thorough the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ECST). On the operational side the TREVI (Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism, and political Violence) Group was formed in 1976 with the aim of providing a forum for the exchange of information between various European agencies concerned with the prevention of terrorism. Despite its ambiguous legal status TREVI was considered a useful tool and it remains an important reference for understanding the continuity of a specifically European approach to anti-terrorism. Many of the informal frameworks developed through the TREVI group were then integrated into the legal instruments of the Maastricht Treaty. Maastricht made provisions for the establishment of EUROPOL and EU police and increased coordination as a number of legal instruments were adopted and gradual progress was made toward the establishment of the now readily institutionalized «area of freedom, security and justice». The 1999 Tampere session of the European Council added a number of concrete political aims which, as history would have it, were not realized until after September 11, 2001. Cf. Doron Zimmermann (2006). «The European Union and Post 9/11 Counterterrorism. A Reappraisal», Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 29(2): 123-145
 European Commission (1997) (97/36/EC). On the Coordination of Certain Provisions Laid Down by Law, Regulation or Administrative Action in Member States Concerning the Pursuit of Television Broadcasting Activities (Television without Frontiers Directive)
 Council of the European Union (2002) (2002/475/JHA). Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on Combating Terrorism
 European Commission (2004) (SEC(2004) 332). European Security Strategy—Fight against Terrorism
 European Commission (2004) (COM(2004) 698 final). Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Terrorist Attacks
 Council of the European Union (2004) Declaration on Combating Terrorism
 Council of the European Union (2005) (14469/4/05). The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy
 Taarnby, Recruitment.
 Joanne Wright (2006). «The Importance of Europe in the Global Campaign Against Terrorism», Terrorism and Political Violence 18(2): 281–300, Zimmermann «The European Union and Post 9/11 Counterterrorism. A Reappraisal»,
 Mark Juergensmeyer (2003). Terror in the Mind of God. The Global Rise of Religious Violence.Berkely: University of California Press.
 Recruitment appears to take an entirely unique shape in Europe, significantly different than what takes place in the U.S. different forms. AIVD, Background of Jihad Recruits in the Netherlands.. Amsterdam: General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands, Robert S. Leiken, Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11. Washington D.C.: The Nixon Center, Robert S. Leiken (2005). «Europe’s Angry Muslims», Foreign Affairs 84(4): 120–135, Michael Taarnby, Recruitment of Islamist Terrorists in Europe: Trends and Perspectives. Aarhus: Centre for Cultural Research, University of Aarhus In other words, the degree to which one can speak of global Jihad is severely restricted by the fact there is no real global community corresponding to the Romantic Islamist vision and, more importantly, the fears of U.S. and European officials. Mohammed Ayoob (2004). «Political Islam: Image and Reality», World Policy Journal Fall): 1–14.
 Taarnby, Recruitment.
 Jocelyne Cesari (2003). «Muslim Minorities in Europe: The Silent Revolution» in J. Esposito and F. Burgat (ed.) Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and in Europe. Chapel Hill, NC: Rutgers University Press.
 Gilles Kepel (2000). Jihad : expansion et déclin de l’islamisme.Paris: Gallimard, Olivier Roy (2004). L’Islam mondialisé.Paris: Seuil.