Ryan M. Faught
Arkansas Tech University
Terrorism has been a major topic of research for many years. We’ve learned a lot about terrorism and terrorist groups, but there are still major questions to be answered. What exactly is a terrorist? What causes ordinary people to become terrorists? What attracts people to terrorism? How do terrorist groups in the Middle East recruit and radicalize people from all over the world? In this paper I will discuss these questions and more according to the knowledge I’ve gained from reading these five research papers. Terrorism is the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the public and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause (De Zulueta, 2006). This or any definition of terrorism is still subjective depending on the “terrorist” and the situation. For instance, most Americans don’t consider the founding fathers as terrorists, but freedom fighters. In the same way, radical Muslims may look at al Qaeda as freedom fighters, although most of the world would view them as terrorists. The deciding factor that separates freedom fighters from terrorists appears to be the intentional murder of innocent people. Terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda are well known for such murders. Rather than merely fighting for freedom, they wish to create a theocratic state in accordance with Sharia law, under which thieves have their hands cut off, suspected adulterous women are lapidated, where women lose their civil rights and true democracy takes a back seat (De Zulueta, 2006). Their beliefs are incredibly radical and make no exceptions. Hence, they kill without discrimination and without mercy. Sayyed Qutb, a major source of inspiration for al Qaeda had this to say specifically about western culture: “Humanity today is living in a large brothel! One has only to glance at its press, films, fashion shows, beauty...
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