Macerata demonstration
Manifestazione autoconvocata dopo gli episodi di razzismo a Macerata - 4 febbraio 2018 | Photo: (c) csasisma | Permission granted

Why are some Italians shooting migrants? Far-right terrorism, anti-migrant discourse and the Italian election

On Saturday February 3rd, a 28 year old far-right activist Luca Traini went on a shooting rampage in the small town of Macerata in central Italy. Over the course of a few hours, he randomly shot and wounded 5 men and one woman of African origin. He was eventually apprehended by police wrapped in an Italian flag, in front of a monument to Italy’s war dead, performing the Roman salute and screaming “Viva l’Italia”. Traini claimed that he had heard a radio news report detailing the arrest of a Nigerian drug dealer as a suspect related to the local death of a teenage girl Pamela Mastropietro, when he decided to get his legally held gun and “kill them all”, referring to the local African community. Notwithstanding the attack’s evident racial motivations, the aftermath of the shootings has been framed in terms of migrants as a source of tension rather than focusing on the far-right milieu as a generator of political violence.


A building in Marawi, Philippines is set ablaze by airstrikes carried out by the Philippine Air Force
A building in Marawi, Philippines, is set ablaze by airstrikes carried out by the Philippine Air Force | Photo: Mark Johmel | CC BY-SA 4.0

An Emerging Caliphate in Southeast Asia? The Framing of Political Violence in the Philippines

In May 2017 two groups of Muslim fighters raided the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines. After five months of fighting, the Philippine military finally announced that the city was reconquered from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups that supposedly had ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This incident resembles a crisis in 2013 when members of another armed group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), entered the city of Zamboanga and battled government troops for weeks. But whereas the Zamboanga crisis neither attracted much foreign attention nor was linked to international jihadism, the fighting in Marawi has been portrayed as part of larger conflict between militant Islamism and the civilised world – a narrative that is lacking substantial empirical evidence.


Foto: picture alliance / AP Photo

Warum werden Frauen Terroristinnen? Wider eine stereotype Betrachtung des weiblichen Terrorismus

Punk-Band Frontfrau, Ex-Katholikin, Kosmetikverkäuferin – für die meisten klingt das nicht nach der Biographie einer der aktivsten Anhängerinnen des sogenannten Islamischen Staates (IS). Und doch: Bis Sally Jones jüngst bei einem US-Drohnenangriff ums Leben gekommen ist, war die Britin für mehr als vier Jahre das weibliche Gesicht des IS. Die Geschichte von Jones wirft eine grundlegende Frage auf: Wieso werden Frauen Terroristinnen? Ein Blick auf das breite Spektrum und die Geschichte des weiblichen Terrorismus zeigt, dass Terroristinnen weder neu noch selten, weder vor allem Opfer noch rein persönlich motiviert sind. Wenn an solchen Stereotypen festgehalten wird, steht dies nicht nur einer umfassenden Analyse der Gründe, sondern auch der Prävention von weiblichem Terrorismus im Wege.  


Manchester Bees | Photo: Transport Pixels | CC BY 2.0

Benefit Concert in the Manchester Arena: The Terror Threat and Peaceful Protests

On 22 May 2017, the suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured many more after an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena. On 9 September 2017, the Manchester Arena was reopened with a benefit show labelled as a “We Are Manchester” concert. The concert’s aim was to raise money for a place of memorial for the victims of the attack. “We Are Manchester” is only one of the many peaceful responses to the attacks: In contrast to the heated debates on increasing security, they reveal different ways of standing together for a liberal and diverse society against the fear caused by terrorism.


The Sinai desert in Egypt | Photo: Marc Ryckaert | CC BY 3.0

Beduinen im Sinai: Verbündete im Kampf gegen den „Islamischen Staat“?

Während viele Augen auf die militärischen Erfolge gegen den „Islamischen Staat“ im Irak gerichtet sind, kämpfen Ableger der Organisation in anderen Teilen der Region weiterhin erbittert, etwa im nord-östlichen Sinai. Dort strebt der IS-Ableger „Wilayat Sinai“ mit lokaler beduinischer Unterstützung danach, eine Provinz des „Islamischen Staates“ zu errichten und liefert sich dabei ausgedehnte Gefechte mit den staatlichen Sicherheitskräften. Seit Anfang dieses Jahres haben sich jedoch einige beduinische Stämme auch auf Seiten der Regierungskräfte in den Konflikt eingemischt, was die ambivalente Beziehung zwischen den lokalen Beduinen und dem „Islamischen Staat“ veranschaulicht.


Alter Elbtunnel | Foto: Jens Cramer | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Knife Attack in Hamburg: Lone Actor Violence and Mental Illness

On the 28th of July, a 26 year old man, Ahmad A. launched a knife attack in a supermarket in the Barmbek area of Hamburg, wounding four people and killing one. He fled the scene of the attack before being forcefully apprehended by some bystanders. The attacker, a rejected asylum seeker, was understood by the police to have been recently religiously radicalised. Hamburg’s Interior Minister Andy Grote explained that he was known to the police as an “Islamist but not a jihadist” and was suspected of having psychological problems. Prosecutors have asserted that he had no known connections with any organized radical network or group and that he had planned on dying as a martyr.