Resolving Jihadist Conflicts? Religion, Civil War, and Prospects for Peace

On 27 March 2014, the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro to mark the end of four decades of armed conflict. The MILF fought to establish an independent Islamic state in Mindanao of the southern Philippines. Image from EveningStandard.

Project description

One of the most pressing challenges on the contemporary agenda for peace and security is armed conflicts involving militant groups with self-proclaimed Islamist aspirations, such as IS (Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, we know surprisingly little about the conditions under which jihadist conflicts, partly or completely, may be resolved through peaceful means. In particular, there is a gap in peace and conflict research concerning if, how, and to what extent, our existing theories on conflict resolution are applicable to solve jihadist conflicts. The research project “Resolving Jihadist Conflicts? Religion, Civil War, and Prospects for Peace” sets out to fill this lacuna. The purpose is to explore the potential, as well as the limitations, for conflict resolution in these contexts by examining the research question: under what conditions are jihadist conflicts likely to be resolved?

Definitions & Data

More information will be added shortly.


  • 2016-09-12: The research project "Resolving Jihadist Conflicts?" held its 1st international conference 5-8 September, gathering around 30 researchers from multiple disciplines to discuss the concept of 'jihadist' conflict. A public seminar, Resolving Jihadist Wars: Prospects and Challenges, was organized as a part of the conference and drew a large audience. Read more.
  • 2016-08-25: Project leader, Professor Isak Svensson has contributed with the chapter 'Conflict and Peace' in the recently published Handbook of Religion and Society, a comprehensive, up-to-date resource for scholars, students, policy makers, and other professionals seeking to understand the role of religion in society. Read more.


  • 5-8 September 2016, Working Group Conference, Uppsala, Sweden: The Working Group on the Resolution of Jihadist Conflicts holds it first conference, on the theme “Defining and Analyzing Jihadist Conflicts”.
  • 16-19 March 2016, ISA Annual Convention, Atlanta, GA: Core Group members Professor Isak Svensson (project leader) and Associate Professor Desirée Nilsson presented the paper “Mediating jihadist conflicts: Conflict resolution and the global patterns of religiously defined armed conflicts”. In conjunction with the ISA, the Core Group also held its first meeting.

Related publications


Photo: FBA

"I think we have to be creative in order to find solutions to these conflicts." Core Group member Dr. Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs (FBA) interviewed about the research project. Searching for solutions to the wars of our time, FBA, 11 November 2016.

Prof. Svensson reviews Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer's essay in The Cairo Review of International Affairs where he portrays IS as a coalition of three different movements. Slutet för IS början på nya spänningar by Isak Svensson in SvD, 27 October 2016. 

Photo: Day Donaldson

Prof. Isak Svensson and project co-worker Daniel Finnbogason on the rise of trans-jihadist conflicts and the challenges for conflict resolution. Jihadism utan gränser by Svensson & Finnbogason in Mänsklig Säkerhet, 16 September 2016. 

Balkis Press/Abaca/Sipa USA

Read Core Group member Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer's recent analysis of the Islamic State group's structure and eventual decline. How ISIS Will End by Mark Juergensmeyer in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, 22 August 2016. 

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