suicide terrorist model (redefinition)

  • Towards a Redefinition of Islamic Suicide Terrorist’s Motivation: An “Altruistic” Terrorist Model

    Author: Zbigniew Małysz
    Institution: The Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University in Warsaw
    Year of publication: 2020
    Source: Show
    Pages: 131-153
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2020.67.08
    PDF: apsp/67/apsp6708.pdf

    The article aims at a redefinition of Islamic suicide terrorist’s motivation. It describes the basic determinants and conceptualizations of terrorism and discusses major theories and explanations of that phenomenon from an individualistic and sociocultural perspective. Due to the fact that suicide terrorism is a very distinct and narrow subcategory of terrorism, the paper addresses the questions of Why it is unique? and in What ways it is distinct from (“normal”) terrorism in general? Given the absence of convincing psychological, sociological and educational evidence that terrorists (and especially suicide terrorists) differ in any particular way from the normal population, the author has developed and proposed an “altruistic” suicide-terrorist model. The proposed model treats suicide terrorism as a process of continuous communication/education between the terrorist and his/her reference group in which psychosocial bonds are developed between the individual and the terrorist organization. The process is determined by: (1) an erroneous understanding of jihad, (2) the existence of conducive external conditions, such as frustration underpinned by poor living standards and a sectarian mentality negating the outside world and its values, and (3) a high level of altruism (and in particular reciprocal altruism) in would-be suicide bombers.

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