Olivier Roy – France

Linked with Secularism confronts Islam, and with Neo-Fundamentalism. Added March 29, 2008: linked also with Gruesome Islam-video.

Olivier Roy (born 1949) is a research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research CNRS and a lecturer for both the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences EHESS and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris IEP. Since 1984, he has acted as a consultant to the French Foreign Ministry. In 1988, Roy served as a United Nations Office for Coordinating Relief in Afghanistan UNOCA consultant. Beginning in August of 1993, Roy served as special OSCE representative to Tajikistan until February of 1994, at which time he was selected as head of the OSCE mission to Tajikistan, a position he held until October of 1994. Roy received an “Agregation” in Philosophy and a Master’s in Persian language and civilization in 1972 from the French Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales. In 1996, he received his PhD in Political Science from the IEP … (full text).

Islamism’s failure, Islamists’ future.

He writes: Today’s religious revival among Europe’s Muslims is no importation of religious traditions born in the Middle East or the wider Muslim world. Rather, it reflects many of the dynamics of contemporary American evangelical movements. No surprise then that, instead of being tolerant and liberal, it is a movement based on dogmatism, communitarianism, and scripturalism … (full long text).

A website in french with some of his publications.


Olivier Roy – France

His website in french at Science-Po.

Watch the video: Conversations with History, The Political Imagination of Islam, with Olivier Roy interviewed by Harry Kreisler, on Berkeley, 55 min, 31 May 2007. On this edition of Conversations with History, UC Berkeley’s Harry Kreisler talks with Olivier Roy, senior researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris. Their discussion covers Islamic movements, the rise of fundamentalism, the failure of political Islam, and relations between the West and the Islamic world. Have the same title on University of California TV uctv, 54 min, 8/5/2002.

(March 29, 2008: Sorry, the original link here leaded to a video. The website shows now two links for an audio and a transcript). Please find instead this other video: The Future of Radical Islam in Europe, 59.27 min, Nov 6, 2007.
He says: “He (Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams) was referring to civil law, which is essentially the issue of marriages, divorce, child allowance and things like that. The same way for instance that there is Catholic canon law and Jewish law on marriages, inheritance and things like that. There are some informal or at least not state-recognized Jewish orthodox courts. But the people who go to these courts do so on a voluntary basis of course, and the big issue with so-called Sharia courts in the West is: who will go to these courts?” … (full text).

The end of history and the long march of secularisation.

He writes: As this recent plot demonstrates, Al Qaeda stubbornly defines its targets and then gradually improves its means. The goal: to inspire terror and paralyze the economy. Indeed, stock market fluctuations show a temporary link between mind and burse. But over the long term Al Qaeda’s tactics fail … (full text).

His Biography.

He says also: “Let’s take the Taliban. For me, the Afghan Taliban are not Islamicists. They are what I call neo-fundamentalists. The problem of the Taliban is not of creating an Islamic state. They want a true Islamic society. They don’t necessarily think that one should take the state to have an Islamic society. They think the society will be Islamic the day that every Muslim will behave like a true Muslim. For the Taliban and for all the neo-fundamentalists and the Wahhabi, what is a true Muslim? It is somebody who refers exclusively to Islam. Somebody who has no other interest than Islam. It means somebody who has no culture. Very explicitly, the Taliban warred on culture. They destroyed the Buddhist statues. They obliged every man to have the same kind of beard. They forbade anything which has a relation with culture – movies, singing, music, dances, novels, poetry. All these things, including to have singing birds at home, and things like that. Because for them it was either negative or useless. For them, they had a very good argument for destroying the Buddhist statues. They said, “These Buddhas are religious statues. We have no Buddhists in Afghanistan, so nobody needs them, let’s destroy them.” But here we are no more with Islamism. We are no more with people who try to build a state and manage a real society. We are dealing with people who dream of recreating a universal Muslim community cut from all existing societies, including Muslim society. This is why these neo-fundamentalists have some appeal among many second-generation Muslims in the West. These second-generation Muslims – some of them, of course, not all of them – feel alienated from a pristine culture of their grandfathers. They don’t care about how does one live in a Moroccan village, and so on. They feel so alienated with the modern Western culture. And by not reverting, but by joining a neo-fundamentalist movement, which tells them, “Don’t care about society, any kind of society; don’t care about culture; don’t care about politics; just try to be a good Muslim and to recreate the true Muslim community, “they feel at home. They would say, this is an identity for me”. (full long 6-page interview).

Olivier Roy on the cartoon wars, February 08, 2006.

He writes also (on French Riots 2005): … There was nothing Islamic or Arab in the riots. Strangely enough, Palestinian or Algerian flags as well as Arafat-style keffyehs (a must in leftist demonstrations in France) have been totally absent. The “allah akbar” were shouted by the would-be mediators, not the rioters. Attacks on churches and synagogues have been almost absent. This lack of religious dimension contrasts with the ongoing debate among the establishment in France, where Islam has systematically been the analytical grid through which the problems of the “banlieues” (suburbs) have been debated. In fact, in public debates, the socio-economic dimension has been ignored in favor of a purely ideological polemic. Right and Left used to complain about the supposed “communatarisation” of the banlieues (meaning that Islamic norms of behaviour are imposed through social pressure by militant groups); multi-culturalism is a bad name and seen by Left and Right as some sort of Anglo-Saxon plot to undermine the French identity; radical imams are seen as the key actors in community buildings (while their influence on the youth is marginal). A movement called “Ni Putes ni Soumises” (Neither Whores nor Slaves) made a breakthrough from the banlieue to the establishment by defining the male domination of women in the name of Islam the central issue in the banlieues. This domination does exist, but 1) machismo is common to any ethnic ghetto, whatever the religious background, 2) girls usually express solidarity with the males in any crisis, and particularly when the police are accused of racism; in a word the “neighbourhood identity” transcends gender. The ban of the veil in schools has largely been enforced because the veil was seen as a symbol of the growing social pressure on girls (the fact that most of the veiled girls used to be among the most successful and the best integrated has been systematically dismissed). The debate on Islam has helped to ignore or discard the socio-economic dimension – hence the backlash of the recent riots. (full text).
Hizbollah has redrawn the Middle East, August 17, 2006.

Find him and his publications on Science-Po; on amazon; on technorati;
on wikipedia; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

(Disambiguation: in the internet you’ll find also an Olivier Roy playing Hockey).


Afghan Arabs;

Friends of Saddam, the UN Oil for Food Scandal (UNSCAM), Saddam, his many Global Friends, and other UN Scandals;

Afghanistan Report, Coordination in a Fragmented State;

Muhammad and Jesus, Compare the Men — Compare the Religions;

France Has an Underclass, but Its Roots Are Still Shallow.

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