From the Terrorists' Point of View: What They Experience and why They Come to Destroy

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - History - 173 pages

Presenting a picture of the world giving rise to Islamic terrorism, From the Terrorists' Point of View argues that terrorism arises from a deep and pervasive identity crisis in Islamic societies. The account presented in these 10 chapters is shaped by the author's first-hand experiences of life in the Islamic world, as well as his more than quarter-century of research on the psychology of conflict and radicalism. Moghaddam shows us why individuals who are recruited into terrorist organizations are convinced it is the only viable alternative. They believe there are no effective legal means of expressing their grievances and participating in decision making, so they become socialized to see terrorist organizations as legitimate. The organizations they join train them to adopt an us vs. them categorical view, seeing all members outside their group, including civilians, as among the evil enemy ranks.

Looking at the perspective of the terrorist groups themselves, Moghaddam explains why current U.S. policy, focusing almost exclusively on individual terrorists and their eradication, will achieve only short-term gains. He argues that the more effective long-term policy against terrorism is prevention. That, he writes, requires cultivation and nourishment of contextualized democracy through culturally appropriate avenues. Only allowing people a greater voice and creating mobility opportunities for them will ensure that they do not feel a need to climb the staircase to terrorism.


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From the terrorists' point of view: what they experience and why they come to destroy

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In this book, Moghaddam (psychology, Georgetown Univ.), the author of numerous textbooks on social psychology, explains to Americans that contemporary Islamic terrorists are not "crazy" or "suicidal ... Read full review


1 Why Consider the Terrorists Point of View?
2 Identity Needs and Globalization
3 The Staircase to Terrorism
Growing Dissatisfaction among the Multitudes
How Do We Fight This Unfair System?
Those Americans Are to Blame
The Ends Justify the Means
Its Us against Them
This Heroic Act Will Improve the World
10 Contextualized Democracy as a Solution to Terrorism
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2006)

Fathali M. Moghaddam is Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University. An internationally known, Iranian-born and British-educated psychologist, he has extensive consulting and research experience regarding intergroup conflict and terrorism. He previously held positions with McGill University and the United Nations. Moghaddam taught and researched in Iran for five years immediately following the 1978-79 revolution. He is the author of numerous books, including his forthcoming volume Multiculturalism, Democracy and Intergroup Relations (2007). Moghaddam was awarded the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence, Division 48 of the American Psychological Association.

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