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“The Terrorist Mind: I. A Psychological and Political Analysis”

Miller, Laurence
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 50(2): 121-138.

Part I of this two-part article describes the major forms of domestic and foreign terrorism,
the motivations of the perpetrators, and the psychological, social, and political forces that
contribute to this most particular expression of violence. The article addresses the question
of whether all terrorists are sick or evil and considers the possibility that some forms
of terrorism, however odious their result, can be a rational response to a situation of perceived
intolerable injustice. The article examines what motivates people to join terrorist
groups and what may later move them to leave the terrorist lifestyle. Special consideration
is given to the psychological and religious dynamics of suicide terrorism and what
might motivate some people to give their lives for their cause. Finally, the article offers
recommendations for a multipronged approach to dealing with this modern yet ageless


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