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NCJ Number: 218213 Find in a Library
Title: Psychology of Extremism and Terrorism: A Middle-Eastern Perspective
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:March-April 2007  Pages:141-155
Author(s): Wagdy Loza
Date Published: March 2007
Page Count: 15
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the definition, ideologies, and environmental, political, and social factors linked to terrorism, this paper identifies psychological variables associated with terrorism, followed by possible solutions and research recommendations.
Abstract: In addition to the religious justifications for terrorist actions, this paper also identifies political, social, and psychological justifications for terrorist activities. A separate section of the paper identifies the psychological characteristics of terrorists. These include personality traits, thinking, feelings, belief system, attitudes, attributions, mindset, mental illness, criminality, cognitive and emotional dissonance, conformity, and "brainwashing." Suggested strategies for addressing extremist Islamic terrorism pertains to a combination of military, psychological, political, sociological, economical, and religious measures to be planned and implemented through cooperation between Western societies and moderate Islamist governments and nongovernmental organizations. The main features of terrorist action are "the calculated use of unexpected, shocking, and unlawful violence against noncombatants in order to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population to accept demands on behalf of an underlying ideology or cause." Middle-Eastern terrorism is based not only on religious tenets, but also on current and historical cultural experiences within the Islamic world. The common theme in Islamic terrorist ideologies is that Islamic states are no longer purely Islamic, and Muslims are living in "Jahiliaya" (the age of ignorance which prevailed in the Arabian Peninsula before the revelation of Islam to the prophet Mohammed). Extremist Islamic teachings include the assertion that there must be a continuous state of war between the house of peace (Islamic countries) and the house of war (non-Muslim countries). This state should continue until the nonbelievers ("the infidels") are converted to Islam, killed or enslaved, or subjugated to the Muslim community as inferior, while paying extra taxes in order for them to retain their lives and property (Dhimmi status). 84 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Arab terrorist groups; Counter-terrorism tactics; Islamic law; Political impact of terrorism; Political influences; Politically motivated violent crimes; Religion; Social conditions; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist profiles
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