The Eligious Perspectives on Defining Terrorism - Essay Example

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In this essay, the author demonstrates how terrorism must have clear criteria in order for people to critically assess reports about terrorism and to understand its causes and proper sanctions. Also, the author describes concrete terms in terrorism…
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The Eligious Perspectives on Defining Terrorism
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Download file to see previous pages Yonah Alexander, director of the Institute for Studies in International Terrorism at the State University of New York, differentiates terrorism from insurgency and guerilla warfare. He states: “Terrorists are not insurgents, not guerrillas…Terrorists are beyond all norms. They don't recognize any laws” (Libaw). Terrorism does not have the legitimacy that insurgency may have. Both could have political motivations, but terrorism does not respect international laws and norms regarding warfare.
Not all militant organizations are involved in terrorism too, especially those that conduct social works or have legal national organizations fronts. Zohar Kampf explores the media’s use of terrorism. It notes that the Washington Post differentiates militants with a social cause from terrorists without one. It calls “Palestinian Hamas group ‘militants’ and members of al Qaeda ‘terrorists’” (Kampf 6). The Washington Post defends that Hamas performs social work and is driven by territorial and national sentiments, while “al Qaeda exists only as a terrorist network” (qt. in Kampf 6). This definition defends that some terrorist acts are acceptable if balanced with social and nationalistic goals.
        Besides excluding militant organizations with social and nationalistic intentions, the government of the United States does not include states as terrorists. The U.S. State Department defines terrorism as an act of individuals or organizations and groups, but not an act of states. This definition focuses on political motives too. It says that terrorism is: “Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant* targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience” (asterisk in the original definition of Whitaker). Non-combatant targets may include military personnel who are off duty or unarmed, or against military bases where hostilities are not present (Whitaker). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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