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NCJ Number: 99400 Find in a Library
Title: Security and Social Inquiry - Terrorism as a Quasi-Religious Phenomenon
Journal: Journal of Security Administration  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:57-68
Author(s): B M Turner
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Viewing some terrorist acts as quasi-religious phenomena may explain selected terrorist incidents apparently devoid of rational or logical objectives.
Abstract: The various methodological and theoretical approaches that attempt to explain terrorism have the common assumption that logical causal factors are involved, most notably political objectives. Such an approach is not appropriate for all terrorist incidents, however, particularly when the perpetrators of a terrorist act do not seek public credit for their actions or demand concessions. An alternative sociological theory may explain such incidents. Sociology has documented the benefits which persons receive from being associated with a religious group that shares common beliefs, rituals, and missions. By performing the rituals and behaviors lauded by the religion, a person can experience a valued identity and ward off a sense of meaninglessness. A quasi-religious experience occurs when an individual has similar experiences in any group, whether or not the group represents overt religious doctrine and ritual. When such a dynamic is operating in a terrorist group, the terrorist act in itself (without its achieving any rational political objective) gives the perpetrator a sense of meaning and value within the terrorist peer group. A security analysis designed to combat terrorism should take into account the possibility that a terrorist act may have a quasi-religious motivation. Thirty-five references are listed.
Index Term(s): Religion; Terrorism causes; Terrorist profiles
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