Citizenship in the Minds of Radical Islamists

  • Elisa Orofino Anglia Ruskin University
Keywords: citizenship, islamists, values, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ikhwan al-Muslimun


‘Islamists’ represent a very complex category of actors mostly associated with research on terrorism and radicalisation. While many studies have investigated the dangers posed by Islamist groups in various national contexts, only a few analyses have explored Islamist views on core concepts, including citizenship. This article examines the concept of citizenship through the lenses of two long-living transnational Islamist groups, i.e. Ikhwan al-Muslimun and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Starting by framing the concept of citizenship within Islamism as an ideology, this article eviscerates the main causes that have led Ikhwan and the Hizb to hold diverse views on citizenship. This analysis concludes that different visions on citizenship are caused by two main factors (terminal and instrumental values), which are defined by the different evolutionary paths undertaken by the groups over the decades. Together, these values define a new social identity each individual develops as a result of his/her membership to the group. This new identity eventually aligns the members’ interpretation of reality and their behaviours with the group’s core values



Ahmed, Houriya, and Stuart, Hannah. Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy. London: The Centre for Social Cohesion, 2009.
Al-Banna, Hasan. Toward the Light. [Pamphlet. English translation], 1947.
Al-Banna, Hasan. Between Yesterday and Today (C. Wendell, Trans.) ‘Five Tracts of Ḥasan Al-Bannāʼ (1906-1949): A Selection from the Majmūʻat rasāʼil al-Imām al-shahīd Ḥasan al-Bannāʼ’ [translated from the Arabic and annotated by Charles Wendell, 13-39]. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
Al-Raffie, Dina. ‘Social Identity Theory for Investigating Islamic Extremism in the Diaspora.’ Journal of Strategic Security 6, no. 4 (2013): 67–91.
Ali, Jan A., and Elisa Orofino. ‘Islamic Revivalist Movements in the Modern World: An Analysis of Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, Tabligh Jama'at, and Hizb ut-Tahrir.’ Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 31, no.1 (2018): 27-54.
Amghar, Samir. ‘Salafism and Radicalisation of Young European Muslims’ in European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy, edited by Samir Amghar, Amel Boubekeur, Michael Emerson, 38-51. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), 2007.
‘Anani, Khalil. Inside the Muslim Brotherhood: Religion, Identity, and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
An-Nabhani, Taqiuddin. Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir. London: Al-Khilafah Publications 1953.
An-Nabhani, Taquiddin. The Islamic State. London: Al-Khilafah Publications, 1998.
An-Nabhani, Taquiddin. Structuring of a Party. London: Al-Khilafah Publications, 2001.
Ansari and John Esposito, Muslims and the West. Islamabad: Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, 2001.
Ataman, Kemal. ‘Forerunners of" Political Islam: An inquiry into the Ideologies of Al-Banna and Al-Mawdudi.’ Review of the Faculty of Theology of Uludag University 24, no. 2 (2015): 45-69.
Ayubi, Nazih. Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World. London: Routledge, 2003.
Badar, Uthman. ‘How to Implement Islam Radically and Comprehensively. Khilafah Conference 2012,’ YouTube video, September 27, 2012,
Baran, Zeyno. Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islam's Political Insurgency. Washington DC: The Nixon Center, 2004.
Benford, Robert D., and David A. Snow. ‘Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment.’ Annual Review of Sociology 26, no.1 (2000): 611-639.
Bowcott, Owen. ‘People were begging for Mercy.’ The Guardian, April 11, 2006,
Caves, Roger. W. Encyclopedia of the City. London: Routledge, 2004.
Chauvin, Sébastien, Garces-Mascarenas, Blanca and Kraler, Albert. ‘Migrant Legality and Employment in Europe.’ International Migration, no 51(2013): 80–85.
Costanza, William A. ‘An Interdisciplinary Framework to assess the Radicalization of Youth towards violent Extremism across Cultures.’ PhD thesis, The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University, 2012.
Diani, Mario. ‘The Concept of Social Movement.’ The Sociological Review 40, no. 1 (1992): 1–25.
Frampton, Martyn. The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement. Cambridge (USA): Harvard University Press, 2018.
Friedland, Elliot. The Muslim Brotherhood Special Report. Clarion Project, Washington,
D.C., 2015.
Ghaffar, Hussain. ‘A Short History of Islamism,’ Concept Series 1. Quilliam, 2010,
Guzman Garcia, Melissa. ‘Spiritual Citizenship: Immigrant, Religious Participation and the Management of Deportability’. IMR SAGE 52, no 12 (2018): 404-429.
Hamid, Sadek. Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism. London, New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2016.
Hizb ut-Tahrir. The American Campaign to Suppress Islam. London: Al-Khilafah Publications, 1996.
Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Inevitability of the Clash of Civilisations. London: Al-Khilafah Publications, 2002.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain. Once Again, the UK Government looks to Exploit Horrific Crimes for Political Ends [Press Release], June 19, 201,
Iqbal, Asep Muhammad, and Zulkifli Zulkifli. ‘Islamic fundamentalism, nation-state and global citizenship: the case of Hizb ut-Tahrir.’ Indonesian Journal of Islam and Muslim Societies 6 no.1 (2016): 35-61.
Kamali, Mohammad H. ‘Citizenship: An Islamic Perspective.’ Journal of Islamic Law and Culture11, no. 2 (2009):121-153.
Kenney, Michael, et al. ‘Organisational Adaptation in an Activist Network: Social Networks, Leadership, and Change in Al-Muhajiroun.’ Applied Ergonomics 44 no. 5 (2013): 739-747.
Mozaffari, Mehdi. ‘What is Islamism? History and Definition of a Concept.’ Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 8, no.1 (2007): 17-33.
Munson, Ziad. ‘Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.’ The Sociological Quarterly 42, no. 4 (2001): 487-510.
Orofino, Elisa. ‘Intellectual Radicals challenging the State: The Case of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the West’, Contemporary Social Science, 10 no. 4 (2015): 401-412.
Orofino, Elisa. Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Caliphate. London: Routledge, 2020.
Orofino, Elisa. ‘Framing, New Social Identity and Longterm Loyalty. Hizb Ut-Tahrir’s Impact on its Members’, Social Movement Studies (2020): 1-18.
Partington, Martin. ‘Citizenship and Housing' In Rights of Citizenship, edited by Robert Blackburn, 74-90. London: Mansell, 1993.
Qutb, Sayyd. Milestones (Ma’âlim Fi Al-Tariq) Salimah. Kuwait: International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, 1978.
Rahnema, Saeed. ‘Radical Islamism and failed Developmentalism.’ Third World Quarterly 29, no. 3 (2008): 483-496.
Rahman, Kazi L. Citizenship and Islam, London Central Mosque Trust & The Islamic Cultural Centre, 2016.
Roy, Olivier. The Failure of Political Islam. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 1994.
Salam, Nawaf. ‘The Emergence of Citizenship in Islamdom’, Arab Law Quarterly12, no. 2, (1997): 125-126.
Spruyt, Hendrik. ‘The End of Empire and the Extension of the Westphalian System: The Normative Basis of the Modern State Order’. International Studies Review 2, no. 2 (2000), 65-92.
Sternhell, Zeen. ‘Fascist Ideology.’ In Fascism: A Reader’s Guide edited by Walter Laqueur. London: Penguin Books, 1982.
Tahhan, Zena. ‘Hamas and Fatah: How Are the Two Groups Different? Despite the Differences between the Two Palestinian Parties, They Have Managed to Reach a Deal to End their Divide.’ Al Jazeera Online, October 12, 2017,
Tajfel, Henri. ‘Experiments in a Vacuum.’ In The Context of Social Psychology: A Critical Assessment edited by Israel Joachim & Henri Tajfel, vol. 7, 69–119. Oxford, England: Academic Press, 1972.
Taji-Farouki, Suha. A Fundamental Quest: Hizb Al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate. London: Grey Seal, 1996.
Varsanyi, Monica, W. ‘Interrogating “Urban Citizenship” vis-a-vis Undocumented Migration.’ Citizenship Studies 10 (2006): 229–249.
Vidino, Lorenzo. The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
Wagemakers, Joas. ‘Salafism.’ In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. 2016.
Wahid, Abdul. Why I joined Hizb ut-Tahrir [video]: Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, September 25, 2016,
Wali, Farhaan. Radicalism Unveiled. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2013.
Wiktorowicz, Quintan. Radical Islam rising: Muslim Extremism in the West. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.