Globalised Islam

The Search for a New Ummah

Part of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
September 2004 9781850655985 364pp


The spread of Islam around the globe has blurred the connection between a religion, a specific society, and a territory. One-third of the world’s Muslims now live as members of a minority. At the heart of this development are the voluntary settlement of Muslims in Western societies and the pervasiveness and influence of Western cultural models and social norms. The revival of Islam among Muslim populations is often wrongly seen as a backlash against westernisation rather than as one of its consquences.

Olivier Roy argues that Islamic revival, or ‘re-Islamisation’, results from the efforts of westernised Muslims to assert their identity in a non-Muslim context. A schism has emerged between mainstream Islamist movements in the Muslim world and the uprooted militants who strive to establish an imaginary ummah, or Muslim community. Roy provides a detailed comparison of these transnational movements, whether peaceful like Tablighi Jama’at and the Islamic brotherhoods, or violent like al-Qaeda. He shows how neofundamentalism acknowledges without nostalgia the loss of pristine cultures, constructing instead a universal religious identity that transcends the very notion of culture. Thus contemporary Islamic fundamentalism is not a simple reaction against westernisation but a product and an agent of the complex forces of globalisation.


‘[This] new book provides one of the best and most detailed snapshots of “real existing Islam” currently available.’ — The Guardian

‘A new book by Roy [is] something of an event […] Globalised Islam is a highly original, methodologically rigorous […] superb and complex sociological study.’ — The Washington Post

‘High-octane brainwork … a large and highly intelligent contribution.’ — The Economist

‘Olivier Roy is perhaps the most provocative and innovative writer on Islamism today. […] There is no more reliable guide to this labyrinth.’ — Martin Kramer, Middle East Quarterly

‘A characteristically informed and incisive analysis of the new transnational movements and globalized responses that have developed in that past twenty years or so in the Muslim world. […] Roy is one of the most important analysts of political Islam today.’ —James Piscatori, Fellow, University of Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies


Olivier Roy is Professor at the European University Institute in Florence. Six of his highly acclaimed books on religion and politics are published by Hurst, including Globalised Islam; Jihad and Death; Holy Ignorance; and Is Europe Christian?

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.