Introduction Chapter: Terrorism and the Low Numbers

Pages: 10 (2629 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The claim of antiquity within this system arises from the legal allowance for the mistreatment and subjugation of women. In the realm of Human Rights in the 21st Century, Islamic Law is certainly exploitive and reminiscent of another era. In countries that have adopted Islamic Law, women are not allowed to drive cars, vote, initiate a divorce, or show their bodies (Douki, et al. 2003). Moreover, terrorist activities in countries using Islamic Law have been shown to be much more frequent than in those Muslim countries that have not accepted this legal system (Douki, et al. 2003).

With their far-reaching political and economic influences and strategic expansion tactics, terrorist groups have certainly been growing globally over the past few decades. Subsequently, terrorist activity has become a much more common occurrence in the modern world. The diagram below helps to elucidate this increase in harmful terrorist action:

Despite the fact that this figure only depicts terrorist activity over a period of approximately ten years, the exponentially increasing trend directly correlates to the escalating influence and global capabilities of Islamic terrorist groups. With significant funding and tactical communication networks, these organizations are becoming ever more sophisticated and ultimately powerful.

Although it seems incongruous with this theme, the actual number of recorded terrorists represents only a fraction of a percent of the world's Muslim population. With more than one billion practicing Muslims, current estimates approximate that there are between forty and fifty thousand terrorists in the world today. Even though these numbers may be increasing, this extremely low amount is certainly surprising and presents a substantial cause for concern. For, with the momentous global threat associated with terrorism, and the extremely low number of potential threat origins, this would indicate that these individuals are much more powerful and organized than we think. Though it is also important to remember that there are many terrorist organizations that utilize "sleeper cells." That is, they will train individuals and then send them to a location where they will remain completely dormant until they are called upon . This commonly utilized method would presumably make an accurate estimate of the number of potential terrorists extremely hard to secure. Nevertheless, even with a slight increase in the estimates, the number of actual terrorists is still very low.

In order to identify why this is in fact the case, it is vital to understand why an individual would become a terrorist. As noted above, the recruitment tactics employed by many terrorist organizations are highly complex and developed. Thus, it would be very easy for a ripe-minded underprivileged young man to succumb to the promises and temptations heaved upon him by a potential recruiter. However, more personalized motivators also play a significant part in determining why one might join a terrorist group. In addition to the deprived youths that are easily manipulated into believing the lies of recruiters, recent studies have shown that other common recruits include the unemployed and other socially alienated individuals who have dropped out of society (Hudson 1999). Such persons may try to join a terrorist group out of boredom and a desire to have an action-packed adventure in pursuit of a cause they regard as just (Hudson 1999). Furthermore, a more rare occurrence would be the enrollment of a more educated young man. This type of individual might enlist in a terrorist group in order to fulfill his desire to use his specialized skills, like weapons design or bomb making (Hudson 1999). Educated enlisters may also feel very passionate about the cause and want to exercise their religious convictions. All the same, even with the countless potential reasons for joining a terrorist group, the numbers of new recruits remain low.

This reality also comes with a multitude of causal factors. First of all, no matter the socioeconomic or educational background of an individual, he or she is likely to possess a relatively accurate set of morals (the most basic of which would be knowing the difference between right and wrong). Also, with the extremely unpleasant penalties associated with acts of terrorism, some potential applicants may fail to join simply out of fear. Furthermore, while the vast majority of potential terrorist group members have been born and raised in the Middle East, it does not take a top-of-the-line education to know who might be a terrorist. With the seemingly endless military-based struggles going on in this region, any recruiter for a military or paramilitary organization should be a cause for some hesitance. In addition to at least being able to recognize a potentially threatening proposal, one can assume that possible members would also possess a basic understanding of the strict, dedicated and permanent lifestyle of a terrorist. That is, an Islamic terrorist must devote his entire life to his fundamentalist religion and the causes of his specific group. This is almost analogous to a priest or other religious devotee. In both cases (terrorists and members of a church) the numbers of these individuals are quite low as compared to the religion as a whole. Hence, by stepping back and examining the truths surrounding human development and the stringent demands of a terrorist lifestyle, one can better ascertain why it is that the actual percentage of terrorists is so very low.

Bibliography

Bar, Shmuel. "The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism." Policy Review 125 (2004).

Choueiri, Youssef M. Islamic Fundamentalism. London: Continuum, 1997.

Douki, S., F. Nacef, A. Belhadj, A. Bouasker, and R. Ghachem. "Violence Against Women in Arab and Islamic Countries." Archives of Women's Mental Health 6, no. 3 (April 2003): 165-171.

Enders, Walter, and Todd Sandler. "What Do We Know About the Substitution Effect in Terrorism?" April 2002. http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:ZHFBPRPTOqUJ:scholar.google.com/+terrorist+recruiting+tactics&hl=es&as_sdt=0,5 (accessed May 11, 2011).

Gerwehr, Scott, and Sara Daly. "Al-Qaida: Terrorist Selection and Recruitment." RAND Corporation: National Security Research Division. 2003. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.140.249&rep=rep1&type=pdf (accessed May 11, 2011).

Gough, Hugh. The Terror in the French Revolution. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Hoffman, Bruce. "Terrorist Targeting: Tactics, Trends, and Potentialities." Terrorism and Political Violence 5, no. 2 (1993): 12-29.

Horgan, John, and Max Taylor. "The Irish Republican Army: Command and Functional Structure." Terrorism and Political Violence 9, no. 3 (1997): 1-32.

Hudson, Rex A. "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?" Edited by Marilyn Majeska. The Library of Congress. September 1999. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.117.5946&rep=rep1&type=pdf (accessed May 11, 2011).

Jackson, Richard. "The Ghosts of State Terror: Knowledge, Politics and Terrorism Studies." Critical Studies on Terrorism 1, no. 3 (2008): 377-392.

Laqueur, Walter. A History of Terrorism. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2001.

Merriam-Webster's New English Dictionary. "Terrorism." 2011. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Terrorism (accessed May 11, 2011).

Stern, Jessica. "Jihad Culture." Foreign Affairs 79, no. 6 (November 2000): 115-126.

Vogel, Frank… [END OF PREVIEW]

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