Terrorism Definitions of Terrorism: The Federal Bureau Thesis

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Definitions of terrorism: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) calls terrorism "The unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, a civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives (www.fbi.gov). Under the U.S. Law Code Title 22, Chapter 38, Para. 2656f (d) terrorism means "…premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents" (http://terrorism.about.com) (Zalman). And according to Princeton University's definition (http://Wordnetweb.princton.edu) terrorism is "the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature." I think the Princeton University version is the best because it is most succinct and uses language everyone can understand. In fact the threat of terrorism is frightening, and Princeton University was the only definition to relate that fact.

TWO: How do terrorists justify their actions? "The goal of these extremists, as they have announced again and again," an article in the journal Commentary explains, "is nothing less than to restore a unified Muslim ummah (community)" (Marshall 2005). This new "community" the terrorists seek will be ruled by a "new caliphate," organized to "wage jihad against the rest of the world, and, above all, governed by what they regard as the immutable divine law declared by God to Muhammad -- the shari'a," Marshall continues.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Terrorism Definitions of Terrorism: The Federal Bureau Assignment

The "shari'a" part of the Qur'an is where, in the minds of radicals, the religious basis of Islam joins with social and political dynamics. The shari'a actually deals with "matters of crime and judicial procedure," Marshall explains. Those extreme versions used by terrorists in the Islamic community justify jihad based on their belief that non-Muslims are either second-class citizens or non-existent, and the "rule of God" calls for killing them, according to Marshall, who is "senior fellow" at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom, and the author or editor of twenty books on religion and politics.

THREE: Structure of terror groups. According to the "Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century," the al-Queda (also spelled al-Qaeda) terrorist organization is a "loosely affiliated networks" rather than a hierarchical structure. Group leadership is certainly challenged by the fact that an individual with "minimal or no direct connection" to al-Queda and with "minimal training" can on his own, attempt terrorist actions. Richard Reid is an example of that problem (he attempted to bomb a commercial airliner in 2001). The challenge for leaders in terrorist groups is keeping everyone on the same page without giving away their location (cell phone transmissions can be intercepted). These groups are not typical armies that can be all in one place at the same time to receive orders and training, rather they form "cells" and sometimes blend into communities, such as a 9/11 terrorists did in Germany and Florida. This is also why law enforcement agencies have a difficult time locating and killing terrorists. And security personnel have a hard time arresting terrorists who look exactly like other Muslims around them; a terrorist willing to blow himself up to kill Americans can be a very shadowy, hidden enemy.

FOUR: Views of Samuel Huntington and Thomas Barnett. In his book the Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel Huntington points out that while Muslims make up one-fifth of the world's population, in the 1990s they have been "…far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization." He specifically points to the fact that of 50 "ethno-political conflicts" between the years 1993-1994 Muslims were involved in 26 of those. And out of the 48 locations in which 59 conflicts occurred, "…half of these places Muslims were clashing with other Muslims, or with non-Muslims" (Huntington, 1999). Moreover, adding… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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