RaMi – From the margins to the centre: right-wing populist interpretations of (radical) Islam as a societal challenge in Europe and beyond

© RaMi

Start date: 1. March 2021

Duration: 3 years

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research,
Cooperation project being undertaken by the Expert Group on Democracy, Knowledge Transfer and Policy Advice and the Consensus and Conflict Department

Part of the RADIS Platform

Project team at the DeZIM Institute

Dr. Mirjam Weiberg-Salzmann (Principal Investigator)
Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak (Principal Investigator)
PD Dr. Liriam Sponholz (Project Manager)
Damla Keşkekci (PhD student/fellow)
Nastia Nedjai (student assistant)
Rossella Merullo (student assistant)

Project team at the University of Münster

Prof. Dr. Arnulf von Scheliha (cooperation partner)
Anna-Maria Meuth (project coordinator)
Hannah Busemann (student assistant)

Project team at the Ruhr University Bochum

Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger (cooperation partner)
Max Manuel Brunner (PhD student)


Research question
The research focuses on the interplay between the rise of right-wing populist movements and the topic of Islam as radical, and subsequently addresses the effects of the nexus-radical Islam and right-wing populist movements on Western liberal democracy.

The RaMi Project will explore the following questions:

What role does the discourse on radical Islam play in the rise of right-wing populism?
How does right-wing populism link interpretations of radical Islam with the topics of national identity and migration?
To what extent does the right-wing populist interpretation of Islam as a radical and oppressive religion shape the public discourse on Islam?
Is the right-wing populist pattern of interpretation being adopted by other political forces and established religious actors, and thus being normalised?
To what extent is such normalisation being furthered by the mediatisation of politics or by the strategic communication of the right-wing populists, and by the functional logic that underlies the mass media and digital networking platforms?


The research applies a mixed-methods design. The project combines the content analysis procedures used in discourse network analysis, and event analysis of political events and Islamist-motivated international incidents, with country-specific context analyses and expert interviews. Case studies include France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy from 2000 to 2020.

© Uni Münster