A French Orientalist, academic and politician (1949), he is a professor at the European University Institute in Florence and scientific advisor for Middle East Directions at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. He has previously worked as a consultant to the United Nations and as a representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For more than twenty years, he has devoted himself to the systematic study of Islamic extremism and religious fundamentalism, framing these phenomena in the complex frame of the globalised world and the power relations between Europe, the United States and the Middle East. This includes his works such as "Global muslim" (2001), which investigates the western roots of the new islam, "L'impero assente" (2004), relating to the events of September 11, and "Santa Ignoranza" (2009), an analysis of contemporary society and the extremism that develops within it, sometimes in disregard of the cultural traditions of their parents ("for new believers, in the worst cases, culture doesn't exist if not under the form of paganism and, in the best case, it has no value".) In "Generazione ISIS" (2017), Roy outlines a sketch of the jihadists who have grown up in the shadow of western freedoms and the conflicts of the 1980s which affected many countries (Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Afganistan, Iraq and Syria), identifying the ideological constants (and hybridisations with mass culture) that have led many young people to embrace the holy way invoked by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.
(foto: © Giliola Chistè)