Terrorism Related Terms
Books on Sociology of Terrorism, Sociology of Terrorism, Terrorist
Afghans - Veterans of the Afghan War. A
number of the would-be mujahideen, or Islamic resistance fighters, who flocked to
Afghanistan in the 1980s and early 1990s later applied the skills and contacts acquired
during the Afghan War and its aftermath to engage in terrorist activities elsewhere.
Afghans also transmitted the knowledge they acquired to a new generation of Muslim
militants in countries as different as Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, and the
Philippines. Afghan terrorists, who operate independently of state sponsors, draw on
global funding and are savvy about modern weapons and explosives.
Assassins - A sect of Shiite Muslims
called the Assassins used assassination as a tool for purifying the Muslim religion
between the eleventh and the thirteenth century . The Assassins' victims, who were
generally officials, were killed in public to communicate the error of the targeted
official. The Assassin would allow himself to be apprehended and killed in order to
demonstrate the purity of his motives and to enter Heaven.
Baader-Meinhof Gang - Journalistic name
for the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion--RAF). Although the RAF had been reduced to
fewer than 20 members by the early 1990s. The group's support network, reportedly
involving hundreds of Germans, many of whom are well-educated professionals, helps to
account for its possible survival.
Fundamentalism - The term is used to
refer to people who dedicate their lives to pursuing the fundamentals of their religion.
Cult - Journalistic term for an unorthodox system of religious beliefs
and ritual that scholars of religion generally refrain from using.
Fight or Flight - A theory developed by W.B. Cannon in 1929. When an
individual is under stress, the heart rate increases, the lungs operate more efficiently,
adrenalin and sugar are released into the bloodstream, and the muscles become infused with
Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis - An hypothesis that every frustration
leads to some form of aggression and every aggressive act results from some prior
frustration. As defined by Ted Robert Gurr: "The necessary precondition for violent
civil conflict is relative deprivation, defined as actors' perception of discrepancy
between their value expectations and their environment's apparent value capabilities. This
deprivation may be individual or collective."
Groupthink - As originally defined by
I.L. Janis, "a mode of thinking that people engage in when the members' strivings for
unanimity override the motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of
Guerrilla - A revolutionary who engages in insurgency as opposed to
terrorism, although guerrillas also use terrorist methods. Usually operating relatively
openly in less-developed countries, guerrillas attempt to hold territory and generally
attack the state's infrastructure, whereas terrorists usually operate in urban areas and
attack more symbolic targets. Guerrillas usually coerce or abduct civilians to join them,
whereas terrorists are highly selective in whom they recruit.
International Terrorism - Although the Central Intelligence Agency
distinguishes between international and transnational terrorism (international being
terrorism carried out by individuals or groups controlled by a sovereign state and
transnational terrorism being terrorism carried out by autonomous nonstate actors), the
distinction is not used in this paper. This is because the distinction is unnecessarily
confusing, not self-evident, and lacking in usefulness, whereas the term
"state-sponsored terrorism" is self-evident and unambiguous. Moreover, one would
have to be extremely well informed to know which terrorist acts are state-sponsored.
Intifada - The uprising by Palestinians begun in October 1987 against
Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Also the name of the
involved Liberation Army of Palestine, a loosely organized group of adult and teenage
Palestinians active in 1987-93 in attacks on armed Israeli troops. Their campaign for
self-determination included stone-throwing and petrol bombing. Some 1,300 Palestinians and
80 Israelis were killed in the uprising up to the end of 1991.
Jihad - An Arabic verbal noun derived from jahada ("to
struggle"). Although "holy war" is not a literal translation, it summarizes
the essential idea of jihad. In the course of the revival of Islamic fundamentalism, the
doctrine of jihad has been invoked to justify resistance, including terrorist actions, to
combat "un-Islamic" regimes, or perceived external enemies of Islam, such as
Israel and the United States.
June Second Movement - An anarchistic leftist group formed in West Berlin
in 1971 that sought to resist the liberal democratic establishment in West Berlin through
bombings, bank robberies, kidnappings, and murders. The group was named after the
anniversary of Benno Ohnejorg's death, who was killed in a demonstration against the
visiting Shah of Iran in Berlin on June 2,1967. The group was closely associated with the
Red Army Faction and after the majority of its members had been arrested by the end of the
1970s, the remainder joined the RAF.
Mindset - A noun defined by American Heritage Dictionary as: "1. A
fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's response to and
interpretation of situations; 2. an inclination or a habit." Merriam Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.) defines it as 1. A mental attitude or inclination; 2. a
fixed state of mind. The term dates from 1926 but apparently is not included in
dictionaries of psychology.
Mujahideen - A general designation for Muslim fighters engaged in jihad,
as well as the name of various Muslim political and paramilitary groups like the Afghan
Personality - The distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought,
emotion, and behavior that define an individual's personal style of interacting with the
physical and social environment.
Psychopath - A mentally ill or unstable person, especially one having a
psychopathic personality, according to Webster's.
Psychopathy - A mental disorder, especially an extreme mental disorder
marked usually by egocentric and antisocial activity, according to Webster's.
Psychopathology - The study of psychological and behavioral dysfunction
occurring in mental disorder or in social disorganization, according to Webster's.
Psychotic - Of, relating to, or affected with psychosis, which is a
fundamental mental derangement (as schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost
contact with reality, according to Webster's.
Red Army Faction - The RAF, formerly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang,
was a group of German anarchistic leftist terrorists active from May 11, 1972, to the
Sociopath - Basically synonymous with psychopath. Sociopathic symptoms in
the adult sociopath include an inability to tolerate delay or frustration, a lack of guilt
feelings, a relative lack of anxiety, a lack of compassion for others, a hypersensitivity
to personal ills, and a lack of responsibility. Many authors prefer the term sociopath
because this type of person had defective socialization and a deficient childhood.
Sociopathic - Of, relating to, or characterized by asocial or antisocial
behavior or a psychopathic personality, according to Webster's.
Terrorism - the systematic, calculated employment of violence and
intimidation to coerce a government or community,
- to accede to specific political demands, or
- for the psychological purpose of publicizing a political
or religious cause, or
- to force governments or the civil population to accept or
accede to demands, fulfilling a cause.