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Global AlertThe Rationality of Modern Islamist Terrorism and the Challenge to the Liberal Democratic World$
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Boaz Ganor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172127

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172127.001.0001

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The Practical Aspects of an Islamist Terrorist Organization’s Rationale

The Practical Aspects of an Islamist Terrorist Organization’s Rationale

(p.119) 8 The Practical Aspects of an Islamist Terrorist Organization’s Rationale
Global Alert

Boaz Ganor

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents an in-depth analysis of the root and instrumental causes and goals underlying Islamist terrorism. To understand Islamist-jihadist terrorism in general, and the phenomenon of suicide terrorism in particular, it behooves Western decision makers steeped in liberal democratic values to take a step back and begin to view the impetus for terrorism from the perspective of the terrorists themselves. Decision making within terrorist ranks are complicated affairs, influenced by myriad social, political, and even personal considerations. Yet certain commonalities arise within the terrorist rationale that points to influences created via propaganda, indoctrination, and incitement as they are grounded in religious justifications, interpretations, and commandments, if not in a single member's susceptibility to personal and social-organizational factors such as peer pressure or a desire for revenge. Understanding these varied considerations is crucial to exploring the rationale behind specific types of terrorist attack.

Keywords:   Islamist terrorism, Western decision makers, terrorist rationale, social-organizational factors, terrorist attack, propaganda, indoctrination, incitement, liberal democratic values

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