First meeting of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the project “From the margins to the centre? Right-wing populist interpretations of (radial) Islam as a societal challenge in Europe and beyond” (RaMi)

Logo Rami
© RaMi

Since spring 2021, the research project has been carried out under the BMBF funding line “Societal Causes and Effects of Radical Islam in Germany and Europe” under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak and Dr. Mirjam Weiberg-Salzmann at the DeZIM Institute Berlin, together with two further cooperation partners, Prof. Dr. Arnulf von Scheliha (CRM, WWU Münster) and Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger (ISB, RUB).

Based on a comparison of European countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy), the project investigates the extent to which right-wing extremist and right-wing populist interpretations of (radical) Islam in the media lead to a normalization of intolerance towards migrants and Muslims. To what extent does the right-wing populist interpretation of (radical) Islam shape public discourse about Islam? Are right-wing populist patterns of interpretation adopted and thus normalized by other political forces and established religious actors? To what extent is such normalization promoted by the mediatization of politics or by the strategic communication of right-wing populists as well as by the functional logic of mass media and digital networking platforms?

The project’s International Scientific Advisory Board met for the first time in an virtual meeting in early November. In a productive exchange members of the research group and the counsellors discussed ongoing research, the goals and methods of the project, as well as current societal developments. RaMi benefits from the wide range of disciplines, fields of expertise, and regional backgrounds represented by the Advisory Board’s members: Prof. Dr. Kristian Berg Harpviken (Peace Research Institute Oslo), Prof. Dr. Dietmar Loch (University of Lille), Prof. Dr. Matthias Quent (Institute for Democracy and Civil Society, Jena & FH Magdeburg-Stendal), Prof. Dr. Luca Ozzano (University of Turin), Dr. Ebtisam Ramadan (DeZIM-Institute) and Prof. (Emeritus) Dr. Ruth Wodak (University of Vienna).

As the meeting has highlighted, the RaMi project promises a valuable contribution to an often-polarized debate that demands nuanced approaches and that recognizes anti-Islamic discourse as relational, fluctuating, and not reducible to singular events and social interest groups and political parties. The International Scientific Advisory Board will meet again next time in fall 2022.

For a longer report of the meeting, read the German version.

RaMi and its project teams (DeZIM-Institute)

© Inst.