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15.6B: Terrorism

  • Page ID
    8458
  • [ "article:topic" ]

    Terrorism is an act of violence intended to create fear, which is then leveraged in order to achieve goals.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Criticize an instance in history in which the term ”terrorist” or ”terrorism” has been misused to describe a religious group, government, or revolutionary action, using the definition of terrorism in this text

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives.
    • An abiding characteristic of terrorism is indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants to gain publicity for an individual, group or cause.
    • The perpetrators of acts of terrorism can be individuals, groups or states.
    • Religious terrorism is terrorism performed by groups or individuals, the motivation of which is typically rooted in faith-based tenets.
    • The terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” (someone who engages in terrorism) carry strong negative connotations.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • perpetrator: One who perpetrates; especially, one who commits an offense or crime.
    • terrorism: The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda.
    • noncombatant: A non-fighting member of the armed forces

    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. Although the term lacks a universal definition, common definitions of terrorism refer to violent acts intended to create fear (terror). These acts are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal, and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians).

    Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. An abiding characteristic is the indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants to gain publicity for a group, cause or individual. Therefore, the power of terrorism comes from its ability to leverage human fear to help achieve these goals.

     

    Terrorists

     

    The terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” carry strong negative connotations. These terms are often used as political labels to condemn such violence as immoral, indiscriminate, or unjustified or to condemn an entire segment of a population. However, some groups, when involved in a liberation struggle, have been called terrorists by the Western governments or media. In some liberation struggles, these same persons can become the leaders or statesman of these liberated nations. Thus, the perpetrators of terrorism can widely vary; terrorists can be individuals, groups or states. According to some definitions, clandestine or semi-clandestine state actors may also carry out terrorist acts outside the framework of a state of war.

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    A pro-ETA mural in Durango, Biscay: The ETA is considered a terrorist organization by most governments, but proclaims its own mission to be liberation.

     

    Religious Terrorism

     

    Religious terrorism is performed by groups or individuals, the motivation of which is typically rooted in faith-based tenets. Terrorist acts throughout the centuries have been performed on religious grounds with the hope to either spread or enforce a system of belief, viewpoint or opinion. Religious terrorism does not in itself necessarily define a specific religious standpoint or view, but instead usually defines an individual or group interpretation of that belief system ‘s teachings.

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    Terrorist Bomb Attack: A view of damages to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut caused by a terrorist bomb attack, April 1983