The Danish magazine, Zetland, reached out to ICCT Director Thomas Renard to comment on Ayman al-Zawahiri’s death and its effects on the terrorism threat against Western countries and global terrorism at large. Starting from Renard’s recent perspective “What the zeitgeist can tell us about future terror” (published by ICCT on 9th June 2022), the interview focused on how the jihadism threat may decline and the new terrorist threat of far-right groups has begun to grow before our eyes.
Renard commented on what kind of terrorist threat we should prepare ourselves for now and how the coronavirus pandemic may have influenced to the next potential wave of terrorism. He explained how “the coronavirus pandemic accelerated an already growing sense of insecurity among much of the population in the West”, and it has reinforced the popular distrust of those in power and the elite. The pandemic also forced people into isolation and in front of screens searching for answers. As a result, many have been exposed to conspiracy theories and the risk of radicalization. Although it does not necessarily mean they will turn violent, the risk is there, concluded Renard.
Van Dongen, T. Assessing the Threat of Covid 19-related Extremism in the West. Perspective, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 5 August 2021
Van Dongen, T. and Leidig, E. Whose side are they on? The diversity of far-right responses to Covid-19. Perspective, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 18 August 2021
Van Dongen, T., Wentworth, M., Rigault Arkhis, H. Terrorist Threat Assessment 2019- 2021. Threat Assessment, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 03 February 2022