Faith is generally seen as a “crime stopper” (Baron 2012): “more God, less crime”. The affirmation is rarely reversed as in “More God, more crime”: a way where God would become a purpose and justification for criminal activities. Religion, as a system of beliefs, values and laws, could be seen as a spiritual ideology; in the same sense that socialism is a political ideology encompassing a set of beliefs and norms,- not excluding the fact that religion may come as a support of a political ideology and vice versa. Hence, the anchoring of criminal action into a spiritual or political ideology would give it a sense of legitimacy and allow the rationalisation of all the forms it may take. In fact, this research shows clearly that the Islamisation of criminal groups is the sign of the evolution of the ideological repertoire. The globalisation of radical Islam and the internationalisation of the “Jihadi cause” has propelled Islamism, in its most violent interpretation, as a ready-to-go ideology founded on clear-cut Manichean principles (believers Vs non-believers). The globalisation of the Islamist repertoire should eclipse the many folds of the ideologisation of criminality. In fact, the ideological choice, being purely opportunistic or philosophical, is connected to the local context –also, a local context may favour the adoption of a global ideology-. Hence, the problem of ideologisation of criminality must be seen beyond Islamism and beyond the frontiers of Europe. The conversion of criminality to spiritual or political ideologies is at the heart of this study. It analyses the unique association of politics, religion and crime from an original comparative perspective. More importantly, this research offers new keys to apprehend and respond to the phenomena of radicalisation.
About the Speaker:
Sophie Lemière is currently Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow and research associate at the Middle-East Directions program of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Sophie is a former research associate at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and then an affiliated Junior Researcher at the Asian Research Institute (ARI-NUS).
She holds a PhD and an MA in Political Sciences from Sciences-Po (France). Her research on Malaysian Politics is based on extensive empirical data collected in the field since 2006. Her MA thesis explored the Apostasy controversies and Islamic civil society, while her PhD is an original analysis of the relationship between gangs and political parties in Malaysia.
Sophie’s area of expertise focuses on religion, criminality and Politics in a comparative perspective. The second volume of her edited book on Malaysian Politics will be published in 201