Past eventMembers

Jihadism Transformed: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State’s Global Battle of Ideas

24 October 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm

Chatham House, London


Dr Akil N. Awan, Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Political Violence and Terrorism, Royal Holloway; Editor and Contributor, Jihadism Transformed: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State’s Global Battle of Ideas

Dr Simon Staffell, UK Government Official and Diplomat

Dr Elisabeth Kendall, Senior Research Fellow in Arabic, Pembroke College, Oxford

Dr Valentina Bartolucci, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Pisa (via Skype)

Chair: Jonathan Birdwell, Head of Policy and Research, Institute for Strategic Dialogue



Major events from the Arab Spring, to the death of Osama bin Laden, to the rise of ISIS have changed the nature of jihadist narratives across the Middle East and beyond.

Whereas Al-Qaeda has long focused its efforts on overthrowing what is deems ‘apostate’ regimes in the Middle East, as well as inducing the US to end support for these regimes and withdraw from the region, ISIS has focused on ‘purifying’ the Muslim community by attacking Shia and other religious minorities as well as rival jihadist groups.

This panel will examine how these global jihadist narratives have evolved dramatically in the last five years. Panellists will consider thematic changes inside the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Europe and beyond. How strong is the idea of a unified global jihadist movement and what beliefs and narratives have been used to sustain it?