Jihad and Counter-jihad in the United Kingdom: Digging the cleavage among religious communities

Francesco Finucci


In contemporary Britain, the phenomena of jihadism and counter-jihadism are well known, and they are generally seen through the lens of the threat they pose. The understanding of their goals concerning their relationship with the overall community is nevertheless limited to mutual radicalisation, the legitimisation one form of extremism provides to the opposite one. This paper aims at demonstrating how jihad and counter-jihad movements are in fact orchestrating their own actions in order to influence the entire society, so promoting the radicalisation not only of their opponents, but even of those who are generally neutral in the conflict. To investigate this topic, the paper will focus on the environment, history and political communication of the jihadi network operating in the United Kingdom. Subsequently, it will show how the activity so far analysed impacted the media, by looking at the coverage accorded to the movement. In a second instance, the paper will focus on the far-right counter-jihad movement, focusing on the same elements – environment, history and political communication. Then, looking into the coverage provided by media will offer an insight into how it differs from the one of jihadism. A conclusion will then be drawn about the differences and similarities between the two movements.

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