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Let's clarify; what is terrorism?

GrainneDee

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Every time a Muslim is involved in any kind of incident these days, the word "terrorism" is bandied about. There seems to be a confusion as to what terrorism is.

My understanding is that "terrorism", as the term is used in a political sense today, is acts that are committed to instill terror in the population at large, with the aim of bringing about some kind of political or other change by higher authorities. Sometimes it's very specific - as in the IRA's "Brits Out" campaign. Sometimes, as in fundamentalist Islam, it's much more vague, and is as much a desire to create instabilty in a society that is anathema to the perpetrators, without any clear idea of immediate demands to be fulfilled.

What terrorism is NOT, is someone feeling terror when being attacked by someone else. The young man in Munich was out to get revenge for being bullied and marginalised in school, and the man today was engaged in a domestic dispute. While they no doubt created terror for their victims and others caught up in it, neither was a terrorist act.

If we keep throwing the word "terrorism" around in this hysterical manner, we will devalue the real terrorist acts.
 


Prester Jim

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An attack on civilian targets, specifically civilians uninvolved in whatever conflict the instigator is concerned with.
 

JohnD66

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Let's first acknowledge that 'terrorism' is now used in a way analogous to 'rebel' in the past - i.e. illegitimate use of armed force. So the unionists called the IRA terrorists, Turkey calls the PKK terrorist, Assad calls the Syrian rebels terrorists, whereas their supporters would call them freedom fighters, guerrillas, soldiers, or whatever.

But I think you can define terrorism as a tactic.

Terrorism is politically motivated violence, directed at civilians or other unarmed targets with the aim of terrorising to instill fear and to achieve a political goal.

Regarding radical Islamist attacks in Europe. Actually they are not as vague as we probably think. They usually have a particular motive in mind. Eg. the Madrid bombing back in 2004 was to coerce Spain to leave the Iraq occupation. The Charlie Hebdo attack was to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws in Europe, the 2015 Paris attack was 'revenge' for France's role in combating ISIS and to attempt to frighten them out of doing this. Since then ISIS has called for 'lone wolf' attacks by their sympathisers towards the same objective.

This has muddied the waters a lot and raised the suspicion of terrorism every time a Muslim is involved in a violent incident.
 

Extra

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Zoo
 

Barna

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An attack on civilian targets, specifically civilians uninvolved in whatever conflict the instigator is concerned with.
Like Bloody Sunday and the Dublin/Monaghan bombings?
Oh hang on, those were state sponsored terrorist acts.
 

Prester Jim

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GrainneDee

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Let's first acknowledge that 'terrorism' is now used in a way analogous to 'rebel' in the past - i.e. illegitimate use of armed force. So the unionists called the IRA terrorists, Turkey calls the PKK terrorist, Assad calls the Syrian rebels terrorists, whereas their supporters would call them freedom fighters, guerrillas, soldiers, or whatever.

But I think you can define terrorism as a tactic.

Terrorism is politically motivated violence, directed at civilians or other unarmed targets with the aim of terrorising to instill fear and to achieve a political goal.

Regarding radical Islamist attacks in Europe. Actually they are not as vague as we probably think. They usually have a particular motive in mind. Eg. the Madrid bombing back in 2004 was to coerce Spain to leave the Iraq occupation. The Charlie Hebdo attack was to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws in Europe, the 2015 Paris attack was 'revenge' for France's role in combating ISIS and to attempt to frighten them out of doing this. Since then ISIS has called for 'lone wolf' attacks by their sympathisers towards the same objective.

This has muddied the waters a lot and raised the suspicion of terrorism every time a Muslim is involved in a violent incident.
True, it can be a matter of perspective. But the IRA were terrorists, from any perspective..
 

Barna

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True, it can be a matter of perspective. But the IRA were terrorists, from any perspective..
Grainne, why didn't you just start another thread on the PIRA and then bring SF and the Catholic church into it?
Wouldn't that tick all your bigot boxes?
 

JohnD66

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True, it can be a matter of perspective. But the IRA were terrorists, from any perspective..
Not in the opinion of their supporters.

I think it's more useful to talk about terrorism as a tactic than as a description of a group.
 

GDPR

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Terrorism is the use of violence to promote a political agenda, by state or non-state actors.

Typically it targets a small group of people in order to frighten the wider population.
 

Barna

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Terrorism is the use of violence to promote a political agenda, by state or non-state actors.

Typically it targets a small group of people in order to frighten the wider population.
The B-specials.
 

Prester Jim

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True, it can be a matter of perspective. But the IRA were terrorists, from any perspective..

If they had only attacked military targets and politically involved civilians e.g. Thatcher, informants etc then they wouldn't be but there is no argument that attacking pubs and civilian workmen etc were acts of terrorism.
By the same extension when the British army kills those on opposing armies etc they are not terrorists but when they massacre civilians (as they have done repeatedly) they are terrorists.
 

Coles

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Colluding with a terrorist group (facilitating the murder of civilians, as an example) widens the definition to include 'legitimate forces' such as Police and Army.

Terrorism is just a tactic in war, and in assymetric conflicts it is the most effective way to fight. It really is as simple as that.
 

gleeful

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I would say that terrorism is an attempt to use violence to provoke an over reaction by your opponent. Isis have the stated aim of turning the west against ordinary Muslims so that a full religious war starts - which they then hope to win. In this aim, the more horrible and senseless the attack, the better for their goal of provoking a reaction.

Al Qaeda hoped to provoke the US to invade and occupy the middle east and to impoverish itself in the attempt.
 


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