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Terrorist Mentality


Terrorist Mentality To be a 'shahid' or not to be Dr. Mick Maurer There are 109 different definitions of terrorism by leading academics in the field: Violence ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Terrorist Mentality

Terrorist Mentality
To be a 'shahid' or not to be
  • Dr. Mick Maurer

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
  • Discrepancy between the targets and the victims
  • Intentional planned, systematic organized action
  • Methods of combat, strategy, tactics (30.5)

Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic
assault on civilians to inspire fear for
political ends.
To be a 'shahid' or not to be
  • Terrorism is the intentional use of, or threat
    to use violence against civilians or against
    civilian targets, in order to attain political

Suicide Bombings
To be a 'shahid' or not to be
Public Transport Haifa , Dec 2 , 2001
  • much contemporary terrorism seems to be
    predicated on excessive resentment and extreme
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • (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

  • The 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'.

In Islam
  • The Islamic designation shahid (Arabic
    witness) is equivalent to and in a sense
    derivative of the Judaeo-Christian concept of
    martyr. The full sense of witness unto death
    does not appear in the Qur'an but receives
    explicit treatment in the subsequent Hadith
    literature, in which it is stated that martyrs,
    among the host of heaven, stand nearest the
    throne of God.

  • While details of the status accorded by martyrdom
    (e.g., whether or not a martyr is exempt from
    certain rituals of burial) have been debated
    among dogmatists, it is generally agreed that the
    rank of shahid comprises two groups of the
    faithful those killed in jihad, or holy war, and
    those killed unjustly.
  • The term is used informally to venerate anyone
    who dies in a pitiable manner (e.g., in
    childbirth in a strange land).
  • Among the Shi'ite branch, the martyr par
    excellence is Husayn ibn 'Ali (c. 629680), whose
    death at the hands of the rival Sunnite faction
    under Yazid is commemorated every year during the
    first 10 days of the month of Muharram.

Martyrdom today
  • The term has since been used metaphorically for
    people killed in a historical struggle for some
    cause, such as Yonatan "Yonni" Netanyahu - the
    hero of Entebbe, or those whose deaths served to
    galvanize a particular movement.
  • In the 20th century, many Muslims called suicide
    bombers belonging to Islamist and Palestinian
    nationalist groups claim to be "martyrs". Such
    usage is very controversial and generally has not
    occurred in the English media. On the other hand,
    the Arab word "shaheed" has been sometimes used
    since in English it carries no obvious emotional

Hero or villain?
  • The term "martyr" is in some ways semantically
    interchangeable with "hero" both are almost
    always controversial. The phrase "one man's hero
    is another's criminal" is a simple way of
    expressing this disparity. Warriors throughout
    history returning from battle are typically
    revered for "heroism" and "bravery". In recent
    history, those that commit criminal acts during
    war run the risk of military courts martial. In
    all cultures, war dead are considered to be in
    some sense "martyrs". This is true of U.S.
    soldiers killed in foreign military operations
    the U.S. President commonly refers to "their
    sacrifice" as being "for the cause of freedom".
    The actual word "martyr" is not used, however.
  • Suicide bombers in Palestine are typically hailed
    as "martyrs" by many Palestinians (the actual
    percentage is also disputed) due to Islam's
    prohibition against suicide.

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
  • 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
15 year-old Jalal
  • A 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

To be a 'shahid' or not to be
conflicts exist over establishing the Caliphate
that will unite dar al Islam, but his actions
also may insert him into the Caliphate power
  • 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 Niemöller paraphrased

To be a 'shahid' or not to be
But it should always be remembered that
  • 15 years before the bombing of the Marine
    barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S.
  • 17 years before the hijacking of TWA 847 where a
    U.S. sailor was beaten to death
  • 25 years before the first World Trade Center
    bombings killed six and wounded 1,000
  • 28 years before the bombing of Khobar Towers in
    Saudi Arabia killed 19 U.S. servicemen
  • 30 years before the U.S. embassy bombings in Dar
    es Salaam and Nairobi killed 220
  • 32 years before the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in
    Yemen killed 17 sailors
  • 33 years before the September 11th attacks killed
    3,000 in airplanes, the Pentagon, and the World
    Trade Center.
  • There was a first act of Islamo-fascist
    terrorism that changed the course of American
    history. (That first act being the assassination
    in 1968 of Senator Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan
    Bishara Sirhan.) Sirhan Sirhan goes down in
    history as the first and only foreign terrorist
    to kill a major U.S. figure,
  • Warren Kozak, NY
    Sun March 17, 2006
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