Terrorism: Contributing Factors

Apolitical Approach to Urban Terrorism

Carlos Marighella developed an apolitical approach to urban terrorism within the Brazilian urban landscape.  Under the provisions of his philosophy violence was the foundation of revolution.  White (2006) states Marighella’s The Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla was created to fuel ideological terrorism where “the [terrorists’] purpose was simply to kill victims, attack institutions, and disrupt normal life” (p. 213).  Left wing groups are more inclined to follow the Marighella’s model of revolution, as the urban landscape of such extremists is usually within the scope of such terrorist group’s political or revolutionary agenda (White, 2006).

The PLO and Yasser Arafat

The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was formed in 1964 by Yasser Arafat in order to create an organization of political stature to help shape a transnational coalition against Israel.  Additionally, in 1959, five years prior to the formation of the PLO, Arafat joined forces with a quasi-military organization called Fatah which he later tied itself with the PLO.  The PLO and its new Fatah warriors (fedayeen) had a bitter past with Israel over the sovereignty of the land.  Arab armies and Palestinians have been fighting with Israel for decades with unsuccessful results.  Yasser Arafat and his organization were in the vanguard of the war against Israel.  The PLO’s reputation increased with the help of Fatah, as they became a true contender versus the IDF (Israeli Defense Force).  This standing was further proved in 1968 when Israel assaulted the village of Karamah.  The PLO emerged victorious in the eyes of the Arab world and Yasser Arafat became an instant icon.  The PLO’s main weapon: clandestine terrorist tactics to fight and counter Israeli efforts (White, 2006).  To this day PLO supporters and other terrorist organizations continue to take part in the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict and other terrorist activities around the globe.

Religion, Children, and Terrorism

Religiously organized terrorist groups have an unprecedented access to many ideologically driven individuals; especially, the youth population that is malleable.  Their cause is often singular and categorical; therefore, no explanations of their actions and supplementary mission statements are needed.  Followers of religious terrorist groups are usually very devoted to the cause of the whole organization.  Certain “religious” terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, use religion as means to cover up and orchestrate their political causes, and vice versa.  Ethnic differences, land, and autonomy are often contributors to fights filled with pretentious religious demeanor.  This is evident within the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict and the fight for Jammu and Kashmir (a province in Northern India) between India and Pakistan (Goldstein, 2007).

Eschatology and Terrorism

There are colossal implications when it comes to certain individuals and terrorist groups where eschatological views are prominent.  Eschatology and terrorism pooled together form a belief that the “end of times” is near and acts of violence are rewarded with the status of a “holy warrior” in the eyes of their deity.  Some eschatologists even feel like they are the ushers of the “end of times” and their direct involvement will be rewarded (Goldstein, 2007, White, 2006).  There is no such thing as negotiations or mutual agreements with the enemy, because “(…) God can never compromise with evil [the U.S., other countries fighting against their cause, and essentially, all the non-believers]” (White, 2006, p. 62).


Goldstein, D. (2007). Religion and Modern Terrorism. Retrieved April 2, 2007, from Boston University Vista Online: http://vista.bu.edu/webct/
White, J.R. (2006). Terrorism and Homeland Security. (5th ed.). Belmont: Thomson-Wadsworth

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

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