terrorist mentality

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Terrorist Mentality. Mick Maurer, PhD, MHA. There are 109 different definitions of terrorism by leading academics in the field:. Violence, force (83.5%) Political (65%) Fear, emphasis on terror (51%) Threats (47%) Psychological effects and anticipated reactions (41.5%) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Terrorist MentalityMick Maurer, PhD, MHA

  • There are 109 different definitions of terrorism by leading academics in the field:Violence, force (83.5%)Political (65%)Fear, emphasis on terror (51%)Threats (47%)Psychological effects and anticipated reactions (41.5%)Discrepancy between the targets and the victims (37.5%)Intentional planned, systematic organized action (32%)Methods of combat, strategy, tactics (30.5%)

  • Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic assault on civilians to inspire fear for political ends.

  • Terrorism is the intentional use of, or threat to use violence against civilians or against civilian targets, in order to attain political aims.

  • Suicide BombingsPublic Transport Haifa , Dec 2 , 2001

  • much contemporary terrorism seems to be predicated on excessive resentment and extreme self-righteousness

    collectors of injustice: extremely sensitive to slights and humiliations inflicted on themselves or on members of social groups to which they belong or with which they identify themselves

    hypersensitive to the sufferings and injustices of the world at large, but totally insensitive to immediate, palpable suffering directly around him, especially if he has produced it himself

  • propensity to dehumanize his victims by regarding them as objects or impersonal concepts

    perceives himself part of an elite engaged in a heroic struggle to right the injustices of a cruel world- This struggle is an obligation, a duty, not a voluntary choice, because they are enlightened in a mass of unenlightened

    may be stress seekers with a need to interrupt the monotony of this daily lives by the pursuit of adventure and excitement

  • frustration about an inability to change society

    a sense of self-righteousness

    a utopian belief in the world

    oversimplification of issues

    a feeling of social isolation

    a cold-blooded willingness to kill

    infected as well with an anti-Western bias

  • many, not all, are inspired, motivated, and justified by fundamentalist religious doctrine, the approval of God for the killing of pagans, heathens, or infidels

    vast majority reported that there were no other family members in the organization when they joined (70% of secular & 80% of Islamists)

    sometimes there is a missing father.

    the mother is a significant image in their lives. they behave impulsively and perceive things in extremes, in shades of black and white. they have known failure in their lives.

  • peer group was of much greater influence, and in many cases it was a friend or acquaintance in the group who recruited the subject (secular in school and social group, Islamist in mosque, religious organizations and religious instruction)

    15% of secular and 30% of Islamist sited formal recruitment process

    over half of each group knew their recruiter prior to recruitment

    those previously imprisoned, especially the Islamist terrorist, found the experience was intense further consolidated their identity and the group or organizational membership that provided the most valued element of personal identity

  • prison brought them closer to the group, learned more about the group and were more committed to the cause following their incarceration (77% of Islamists and 54% of secular)

    concerning group dynamics and decision making for both groups it is clear they could question details, but not whether or not the authorized act should be carried out

    with no other means to achieve status and success the organizations success became central to individual identity and provides a reason for living

    the more prominent and the more important (and often times the more violent) a group is, the greater the prestige that is then projected onto group members

  • pride and shame as expressed by the individual were reflections of group actions, not individual actions, feelings or experiences

    if the group says it is required and justified, then it is required and justified

    guilt or remorse by the individual is not tolerated because the organization does not express it

    their sexual identity is uncertain.

  • four observable stages appear to frame a process of ideological development common to many individuals and groups of diverse ideological background (a heuristic):

    a. things are not as they should be, an injustice that does not apply to everyone, its not fair

    b. because injustice generally results from transgressive (wrongful) behavior, hold a person or group responsible (its your fault), identifying a potential target

    c. deem the person or group responsible for the injustice as bad (youre evil)

    d. facilitates violence

  • shahidThe suicide bomber does not act out of suffering or inferior economic status, but rather out of a desire to win social recognition, if not in his lifetime, then after his death as a 'shahid'.

  • The Suicide AttackDefinition A violent, politically motivated action executed consciously, actively and with prior intent by a single individual (or individuals) who kills himself in the course of the operation together with his chosen target. The guaranteed and preplanned death of the perpetrator is a prerequisite for the operations success.

    A mode of operation whereby the act of assault depends on the terrorists death. The terrorist is fully aware of the fact that if he does not commit suicide, the assault plan will not take place.

    The central component, which makes the suicide attack unique, is the attackers knowledge that his death is a prerequisite for the very occurrence of the attack.

  • Suicide attacks are considered a preferred means by terror organizations for the following reasons:

    Suicide attacks cause grave damage to property and multiple deaths.

    Suicide attacks receive broad media coverage. A suicide attack is a media event, as it necessitates determination and martyrdom on the terrorists part.

    Although a suicide attack is essentially uncomplicated, it can be perpetrated at the time and place that the attacker chooses.

  • Both the dispatcher and the suicide bomber dehumanize their victims. They are able to be heartless and without human emotion towards the victims.

  • 15 year-old JalalA suicide bomber, 15 year-old Jalal, said: *" My classmate recruited me to be a 'shahid', for which he was paid, and he gave me $20 *'shahids' are for God, I wanted to kill many Jews and take revenge. * I would have sold my parents and the whole world for the Garden of Eden. * Mostly I thought about my mother on my way to the attack.

  • To be a 'shahid' or not to be

  • those who commit or encourage these attacks do not associate these acts with suicide heroic acts of martyrdom

    a. suicide associated with hopelessness and depression desire to end intense & unbearable psychological pain family and loved ones attempt to discourage

    b. martyrdom by contrast is associated with hopefulness about afterlife rewards in paradise and feelings of heroic sacrifice; others who care for the actor see the pending act as heroic family & loved ones typically support the behavior if the event occurs the family is honored

  • conflicts exist over establishing the Caliphate that will unite dar al Islam, but his actions also may insert him the Caliphate power struggle: Statement broadcast by bin Laden in Qatar on October 7, 2001 referred specifically to 80 years of humiliation of Islam, apparently dated the period of humiliation to 1921, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, and the establishment of Britains Palestine Mandate that provided for a Jewish homeland

  • (As suggested by Thomas L. Friedman NY Times OP-ED 11-16-2005)

    First they 'suicide' bombed the Jews, and I didnt speak up because I wasnt a Jew. Then they came for the Crusaders, and I didnt speak up because I wasnt a Crusader. Then they came for the Shi'a, and I didnt speak up because I was a Sunni. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. - Rev. Martin Niemller paraphrased