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Terrorism's Causes

Why do some people commit terrorist acts? Personal psychology? Religious fervor? Ideological commitment? All of these reasons—and more—have been proposed. Use the articles and links here to develop and explore your own understanding.

Guide to the Causes of Terrorism
Terrorism is the threat or use of violence against civilians to draw attention to an issue. Those searching for the causes of terrorism -why this tactic would be selected, and in what circumstances- approach the phenomenon in different ways. Some see it as an independent phenomenon, while others view it as one tactic in a larger strategy. Some seek to understand what makes an individual ch…

The Two Causes of Terrorism
The causes of terrorism are a popular topic of discussion, but in fact there are only two that are always present: a sense of perceived injustice and the belief that violence will effectively redress it.

Causes of Terrorism Are (Still) Political
Suggestions that there is a "new terrorism"afoot that is more lethal, more fanatical, more religious than the old terrorism deserves closer examination. Upon examination, the causes of terrorism are still political, less than they are religious.

Studies on the Psychological Causes of Terrorism
The psychological causes of terrorism have been of interest to researchers since the 1970s.

Causes of Terrorism-Why are the Causes of Terrorism So Hard to Identify?
The causes of terrorism seem almost impossible for anyone to identify definitively. In this article, learn why.

Causes of Terrorism: Study Explores Terrorist Group Rhetoric for Clues
In "The Implicit Motives of Terrorist Groups: How Needs for Affiliation and Power Translate in to Death and Destruction," Allison G. Smith explores whether the causes of terrorism lie in how terrorist groups perceive affiliations between themselves and others.

Narcissistic Rage Hypotheses
Narcisstic rage hypothesis was once a prominent psychological explanation of what motivates terrorism.

Is Suicide Terrorism Religiously Motivated?
The rise of suicide attacks among Islamist groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda has led many to question whether they are religiously motivated.

Is Terrorism's Cause Poverty?
It appears to make senes that poverty causes terrorism. Who but someone in desperate circumstances would choose to be a terrorist? But over and over, the empirical evidence says otherwise.

Religous Extremism May Not Cause Terrorism
About Guide Austin Cline questions the premise that religion motivates Muslim terrorists.

Terrorism from Hopelessness
About Guide Robert Kennedy suggests that terrorism flourishes in societies where there is little sense of hope, and offers parents ways to help children feel hopeful, especially after disasters.

Terrorism's Growth Traced to Global Religious Revival
In 2004, the Center for Strategic and International Studies concluded that terrorism's growth can be traced partly to a global religious revival. This excellent report also evaluates poverty, demography and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East as causes of terrorism.

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