The Terrorist - The Terrorists Ideological or Religious...

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The Terrorist’s Ideological or Religious Perception Terrorists do not perceive the world as members of governments or civil society do. Their belief systems help to determine their strategies and how they react to government policies. As Martha Crenshaw (1988:12) has observed, “The actions of terrorist organizations are based on a subjective interpretation of the world rather than objective reality.”The variables from which their belief systems are formed include their political and social environments, cultural traditions, and the internal dynamics of their clandestine groups. Their convictions may seem irrational or delusional to society in general, but the terrorists may nevertheless act rationally in their commitment to acting on their convictions. According to cognitive theory, an individual’s mental activities (perception, memory, and reasoning) are important determinants of behavior. Cognition is an important concept in psychology, for it is the general process by which individuals come to know about and make sense of the world. Terrorists view the world within the narrow lens of their own ideology, whether it be Marxism- Leninism, anarchism, nationalism, Islamic fundamentalism (see Glossary), or some other ideology. Most researchers agree that terrorists generally do not regard themselves as terrorists but rather as soldiers, liberators, martyrs, and legitimate fighters for noble social causes. Those terrorists who recognize that their actions are terroristic are so committed to their cause that they do not really care how they are viewed in the outside world. Others may be just as committed,
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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The Terrorist - The Terrorists Ideological or Religious...

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