PSY 487: Final Paper
What is terrorism and why is it a part of our global society? Terrorism is often the result of some type of social or economic injustice, such as poverty, the unemployment rate, government-imposed restrictions on individual freedoms, and a lack of order or morality. For most Americans, the words “terrorist” or “terrorism,” instantly triggers a flashbulb memory of where they were when the Twin Towers fell on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Many people continue to struggle with the notion that there are groups out there, brought together by their unanimous hatred for Americans. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon ...view middle of the document...
They chose to kill themselves rather than die by the hands of their Roman enemies (“Early History of,”). The terrorist activity performed by the Zealots had clear, religious motivation, and the same can be said for much of the terrorism that occurs today. The religious extremists of Islamic fundamentalist groups pose a particularly enduring threat to Western nations (Reiss, 2004). One’s perspective of terrorism can be largely dependent on one’s national government, religious practices, culture, and/or available media outlets with accurate reports (Perl, 1997). As Parliament Member George Galloway said during an August 2006 interview, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Since terrorism is a global phenomenon, the definition of terrorism, to a certain extent, can be left to cultural interpretation (*CITE?).
The American government defines terrorism as the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group, against people or property with the intension of intimidating and coercing our nation’s people, generally for ideological or political reasons (*9/11?**CITE #1). A member or supporter of a terrorist organization, however, would not consider his practice to be ‘terrorism,’ but a necessary means of warfare intended to send a message that benefits the advancement of his group’s ideals (Borum, 2003). Terrorist groups often lack the political or financial resources that would allow them to display their message in a less aggressive, more conventional way (Hudson, 1999). The goal of a terrorist attack is to unfold the destruction of its target audience/population to make a statement about their ideologies. Due to the illicit nature of their activity and limited access to resources, terrorists must utilize the most drastic and efficient ways of gaining public attention. The easiest way to shock and frighten their enemy is to commit large-scale attacks against the public (*CITE #2).
More often than not, the terrorist organization performs such acts of violence in the name of their religion. Although there are other models to consider when examining terrorism, like nationalism and ideology, religious extremism has proved to be the dominating force in the terrorist movement (*CITE?). Religion and religious oppression has been a source of conflict for centuries. Some historians even believe it to be the number one cause of war(*Top 10?**CITE). The Israeli-Pakistani conflict, the Crusades, the War on Terror, and the Thirty Year War are just some examples of wars related to religion. Numerous countries throughout the course of history have been affected by religious-based conflict, like Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, England, France, Spain, and more (Nielson, 2012).
Religious extremists have been known to commit acts of terrorism in defense of their social, political, and/or religious beliefs (Borum, 2003). The Torah, Bible, and Koran all contain instances of justification for...