A major characteristic of Islamic societies in the era of globalization and modernity is the crystallization of a very vibrant and autonomous public sphere that was of crucial importance in shaping the dynamics of these societies. This public sphere crystallized out of the failure of development projects adopted by state regimes in postcolonial era and the imported governance structures of democratization; thus, there appeared new social movements both secular and religious refuting the monopolization of history, morality and society by their rulers and their allies in the west. Therefore, we are witnessing a new phase within Islamic societies after 9/11 and the Arab Spring revolutions. This process took place from an individual choice to a collective mobilization against authoritarianism, dictatorship and poverty.
However in both camps, Islam plays a major role of social change. Hence, Islam is mobilized in these social movements through new roles and new images (dress, language, behaviour and rituals), new generational and gender identities; some argue that there occurred a 'youth-ization' of the public sphere in these societies. Islam here is represented as a symbol, culture and practice mainly within a plurality of many manifestations of Islam (official, popular and political).
As a Muslim North African and a Mediterranean country, Morocco is witnessing a return to locality as both refuge and resistance to globalism. The Islamists resort to the primordial utopian Islam to Islamize modernity and convert the other; the secularists seek refuge in local participatory democracy models to give voice to the people. Thus, the central focus of this reflection is to shed light on this dynamism as a place-conscious identity in Morocco among young people through a very recent national study on religious values among youth; and how concepts of trans-nationalism, civil society and the public sphere apply to these emerging identities in order to deconstruct the underlying mechanisms producing violent politically justified Jihad. For the purpose of this article, I attempt to debate how youth are constructed within discourses of revivalism and how youth-ization leads to violent choices from within faith and beliefs. I argue that both Islamists and secularists have recourse to ‘Ijtihad’ as an intellectual endeavor to solve modern dilemmas of the individual confronting rapid processes of globalization, modernity and information technology. Both Islamists and secularists cope with these processes through the lens of revivalism.