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Week 1: What is terrorism?

Lesson for National 5 Modern Studies.

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Week 1: What is terrorism?

  2. 2. learning objectives • be aware of various definitions of terrorism • understand why terrorism is an important international issue • explain the causes of terrorism • understand the difference between state 
 and non-state terrorism
  3. 3. definitions of terrorism
  4. 4. there is no single, internationally agreed definition of terrorism.
  5. 5. why is terrorism difficult to define? • terrorism is a ‘contested concept’ and political, legal and popular notions of it often diverge • if it was defined it may lead to legitimisation and criminalisation of terrorism • there are many forms and manifestations of terrorism
  6. 6. why is terrorism difficult to define? • it has undergone changes of meaning in the more than 200 years of its existence • it borders with other forms of political violence, for example, assassination or war • states claim monopoly on the use of force and its legal definition of power
  7. 7. definitions of terrorism “The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” oxford dictionary
  8. 8. definitions of terrorism “The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.” Terrorism Act 2000
  9. 9. definitions of terrorism “Criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking hostages, with the purpose to prove a state terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate population or compel a government or an international organisation to do or to abstain from doing any act, which constitute offences within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.” UN security council resolution 1566 (2004)
  10. 10. types of terrorism
  11. 11. state terrorism terrorism undertaken essentially by or on behalf of government terrorism non-state terrorism terrorism undertaken by non- state actors who employ violence in pursuit of their objectives
  12. 12. causes of terrorism
  13. 13. causes of terrorism • nationalism • politics • religion • other factors
  14. 14. nationalism terrorist acts are not generally committed for financial gain. nationalism is a view that independence should be sought because of a common culture, heritage and language.
  15. 15. nationalism some people around the world live in countries or regions that want independence but feel they cannot achieve it peacefully. These people may turn to violence and terrorism to try to achieve their nationalist goals. these people are sometime referred to as separatists.
  16. 16. politics some countries are governed by dictatorships or corrupt governments. these oppressive governments make decisions that are not fair on the majority of people who live there and, as there are no elections, they are in power for many years.
  17. 17. politics in these countries, groups of citizens, known as rebels, may resort to terrorist activities to try to bring about social and political change within their country. despite engaging in terrorist activities, they may actually have widespread support among population.
  18. 18. religion religion has been associated with terrorism for centuries. people who commit terrorist attacks in the name of their religion are referred to as religious extremists.
  19. 19. religion many terrorist attacks of the last decade were by islamic religious extremists. these extremists are angry about the west’s involvement in affairs in middle east such as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  20. 20. religion they believe the western way of life is a very different to life in a muslim country and do not westerners in their land. islamic extremists are therefore waging a jihad (holy war) against the west, believing they are acting on behalf of allah (god) to fulfil a duty.
  21. 21. religion in carrying out terrorist attacks, islamic extremists believe they become martyrs and will be rewarded in the afterlife.
  22. 22. other factors terrorist may also be driven by a sense of relative deprivation and poverty within their society. Globalisation and modern media has given them people in less developed nations an acute awareness of their situation compared to people in developed countries.
  23. 23. other factors discrimination can also lead to terrorism. if a person from a particular radical, religious or ethnic group within a country faces discrimination they may become jaded towards society. In turn they may become radicalised in retaliation to the discrimination they have faced.