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Hizb ut-Tahrir in Denmark and Britain

PhD researcher Richard McNeil Willson visits Aarhus and the ICSRU

07.09.2017 | Mark Sedgwick

Richard McNeil Willson's project looks to explore changes within - and disengagement from - Hizb ut-Tahrir since 2001, contrasting patterns of disengagement from the British and Danish branches.

It places the changes of the organisational tactics and strength - in which the British branch has decreased rapidly, contrasting to a continually bombastic, but traditionally smaller Danish branch - within the context of growing counter-terror legislation which incorporates more 'soft' radicalisation prevention, and seeks to account for the impact that preventative strategies and ex-members within the burgeoning counter-terrorism industry have had on Islamist activism. Drawing on process-oriented techniques and mechanistic approaches within social movement theory analysis, it aims to dynamically map the interplay between authority policies and Islamic activist tactics by Hizb ut-Tahrir.

This project broadens discussion on Islamist movements to incorporate awareness of the impact of internal organisational dynamics and resources, frame resonation and changes in authority response (the micro, meso and macro). Examining patterns of Islamic activist disengagement in a cross-national study, it aims to understand how decline has occurred in these contexts, and poses questions about the efforts of current counter-terrorism approaches.

Richard is a UK Research Council PhD student at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (UK) under the supervision of Prof. J. Githens-Mazer, with external support provided by Prof.ssa D. della Porta and Prof. L. Bosi of Scuola Normale Superiore, Firenze (Italy).