Ahmet Yükleyen is a Wilson Center fellow, a non-residential Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Croft Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Mississippi. He studied international relations at Bilkent University and completed his MA degree at the Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University in 2006. His dissertation research in Germany and the Netherlands in 2003-4 was funded by grants from Wenner Gren Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, and Dutch Council of Higher Education.

He is the author of numerous publications including most recently “Localizing Islam in Europe: Turkish Islamic Communities in Germany and the Netherlands” by Syracuse University Press, 2012. He has published articles in journals such as Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Contemporary IslamImmigrants and Minorities, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, and Turkish Studies. His research interests include anthropology of religion, ethnicity, Muslims in Europe, Islamic movements, and multiculturalism.

Formerly, he taught at Tufts University and joined the faculty of the sociology and anthropology department at the University of Mississippi in 2006 where he is also affiliated with the Croft Institute for International Studies. He teaches courses on international studies, cultural anthropology, ethnic and religious identity politics in Europe, and Muslims in Europe and the United States.

During his M.A. studies at the University of Denver, Ahmet Yukleyen developed an interest in the role of Islamic movements in civil society and socio-political development of Middle Eastern countries. This interest grew into pursuing a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Boston University, where his dissertation fieldwork focused on comparing Turkish Islamic communities in Germany and the Netherlands. Ahmet continues to visit his fieldwork sites in the summers during his years at the University of Mississippi since 2006. This research focuses on the Salafist movement as an emerging Islamic movement in Western Europe, especially among the youth.

Project Summary

This project examines the role of the puritanical Salafi movement in the prevention and promotion of radicalization and terrorist recruitment among Muslim youth in Western Europe. Existing explanations of rising Salafism and radicalization, such as globalization and socio-economic marginalization, fail to account for participation by a Europeanized middle class and the role of sub-trends—political, apolitical, and jihadi—that indicate Salafism as both a potential stepping stone toward Jihadi terrorism and a bulwark against it. My project will examine the relationship among these sub-trends and participants’ rationale behind switching from one to the other.

The research location is the Netherlands where multicultural policies have been in favor of Muslim group rights, despite growing right-wing populism. One important question is why Salafism has expanded and, in part, radicalized under these conditions. What role is played by government policies, by social context, and by the characteristics of the Salafi movement itself and its adherents? The answers are of enormous importance to other European countries where state policies have been less favorable to multiculturalism.

Major Publications

  • Localizing Islam in Europe: Turkish Islamic Communities in Germany and the Netherlands, Syracuse University Press, in Press (Fall 2011).
  • “Piety, Loyalty, and Integration: Turkish Organizations in Germany” Immigrants and Minorities, co-authored with Gökçe Yurdakul, Vol. 29, Issue 1, 2011, pp. 64-85.
  • “Production of mystical Islam in Europe: Religious authorization in the Süleymanlı Sufi community” Contemporary Islam, Vol. 4, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 269-288.
  • “State Policies and Islam in Europe: Milli Görüş in Germany and the Netherlands” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 36, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 445-463.
  • “Localizing Islam in Europe: Religious Activism among Turkish Islamic Organizations in the Netherlands” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 29, Issue 3, 2009, pp. 291-309.
  • “Islam, Conflict and Integration: Turkish Religious Associations in Germany” Turkish Studies, co-authored with Gökçe Yurdakul, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2009, pp. 217-231.
  • “Compatibility of ‘Islam’ and ‘Europe’: Turkey’s EU Accession” Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2009, pp. 115-131.