Resistance to extremism

The project explored the everyday religious practices of young Muslims, and their understanding of key concepts of Islam. 


We investigated how young Muslims practice their faith, and where they get their religious knowledge from, and explored their views on various Islamic ideas and concepts. Most importantly, we showed how young Muslims reject violent extremism because of how they interpret Islam.

In recent years, violent extremism has received ever more attention in public debate and research. The result has often been a somewhat distorted image of Islam and Muslims. In this project, instead of asking why some people are drawn to extremism, we asked why most young Muslims are not, so as to acknowledge and explore their resistance to religious extremism.


We conducted 90 qualitative interviews with young Muslims in Norway. The participants were men and women between 18 and 30. They had a variety of Islamic, ethnic and social backgrounds, and very diverse religious beliefs and opinions.


The interviews revealed that young Muslims use a wide repertoire of narratives to fend off religious extremism. Some of these were inspired by Islamic concepts and stories, while others relied on more universal arguments to reject jihadism. The project also studied the role of the Internet, sectarianism, and reasons for radicalization. The results indicate the importance of “everyday religion” in understanding the role of Islam in contemporary society.   

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Published Sep. 21, 2016 12:55 PM - Last modified Apr. 1, 2022 6:24 PM