The three-fold paradox concerning Salafism in Europe, ECHR-case law and counter-terrorism measures : an interdisciplinary study on international legal and political approaches regarding Salafism in Europe in the 21st century
Elion, Claudia Valérie
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This study discusses Salafism, as a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, in relation to the case law of the ECtHR and counter-terrorism measures of four European states. Within each of these three subjects, a paradox is identifiable. The study analyzes the Islamic legal tradition Shari’a, the Salafist interpretation thereof, the approach of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) towards Islamic fundamentalism and recent counter-terrorism measures taken by Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It finds that Shari’a is subject to many different interpretations, and, as a result, it reveals the dilemma of the ECtHR and national counter-terrorism measures between the protection of the democratic society at one hand and the protection of fundamental freedoms at the other hand. Research is conducted through English and Arab literature, ECtHR-case law and policy documents. Ultimately, this study shows the relevance of an interdisciplinary perspective on a political movement and its cultural and legal tradition. The cultural, legal and political analysis of Shari’a and Salafism provides a thoughtful view on Shari’a and the different orientations it encompasses. In this way this study gives insight in the legitimacy of the judgments of the ECtHR on (violent) Islamic fundamentalist claims on articles 9-11 and 17 ECHR. This study also contributes to the debate on fair and adequate counterterrorist measures that succeed in protecting public safety, while upholding the values of democracy and rule of law as embodied in the ECHR.