Religious terrorism is not something new.

Religious terrorism is not something new.  Using the readings from this week and the following resources answer all of the following questions:

a. Choosing one group – what are their basic beliefs and how do these beliefs drive their activities?  

b. At whom are the majority of their terroristic activities directed?

c. What types of terrorist activities do they involve themselves in?

d.  What can we do about these groups?


READINGS are attached



Chapter 6

Violence in the Name of the Faith

Religious Terrorism

Primary and Secondary Motives: The Idiosyncratic Quality of Religious Terrorism

  • Understanding Jihad as a Primary Motive
    • Greater Jihad: Struggling with oneself to do what is right.
    • Lesser Jihad: The outward defense of Islam.
  • The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion as a Secondary Motive
  • Forgery written by Czarist secret police around 1895.
  • Used repeatedly to scapegoat Jews.

Historical Cases

  • Judeo-Christian Antiquity
    • Bible references to violence in the name of the faith.
    • Includes conquest and annihilation of enemies.
  • Christian Crusades
  • A series of Western Christian military campaigns.
  • Marked by many atrocities against non-Christians.
  • A Secret Cult of Murder
  • Thuggee cult in 13th to 19th century India.
  • Ritually strangled and mutilated travelers.
  • Cult Case: Mysticism and Rebellion in Uganda
  • Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Mobile Force.
  • Josef Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

State-Sponsored Religious Terrorism

  • National Case: Iran
    • Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods (Jerusalem) Force.
    • Cases: Support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamists.
  • Regional Case: Pakistan and India
  • Hindu–Muslim conflict.
  • Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
  • Cases: War in Jammu and Kashmir and Golden Temple massacre.

Dissident Religious Terrorism

  • Regional Case: Religious Zealotry in the Middle East
    • Convergence of claims by Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
    • Cases: Grand Mosque, Hebron Mosque, Rabin Assassination
  • Movement Case: The International Mujahideen
    • Islamist “holy warriors” sworn to defend the faith.
  • Organization Case: The Al-Qa’ida Network
    • A movement and loose network.
    • Inspired by Osama bin Laden’s worldview.
    • Belief that Islamist armed resistance is required.
  • Nation-Building Case: The Rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
  • Goal is to reestablish the Caliphate.
  • Aggressive asymmetrical warfare
  • Case: The Abu Sayyaf Group.
  • Cult Case: Aum Shinrikyō
  • Japan-based cult founded in 1987 by Shoko Asahara.
  • At peak, 9,000 members in Japan and 40,000 worldwide.
  • March, 1995 Tokyo subway sarin nerve gas attack.
    • 5,000–6,000 people were injured.

The Future of Religious Terrorism

  • Extremist religious propaganda cannot be prevented
  • A new generation of Islamist extremists has been primed.
  • Al-Qa’ida has become more than an organization; it evolved to become a symbol and ideology.
  • ISIS has become a symbol and inspiration for resurgent violence by Islamist extremists
  • The jihadi movement has become a globalized phenomenon
  • Christian extremists continue to promote a religious motivation for the war on terrorism


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