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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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." They become terrorists because their repressive societies allow their need for identity to be fulfilled only through such relatively autonomous Islamic organizations as terrorist groups. The failure to allow individual rights and individual development interacts with the "dead history cultures" to disseminate despair. Moghaddam also shows that while the closed Islamic societies shape conditions for developing the terrorist commitment to destruction, U.S. policy in the region, supporting despotic governments and Israel's repression of Palestine, has made the United States an inevitable target. He asserts that military efforts will not defeat Middle Eastern terrorism until U.S. policy modifies its support of current oppressive governments and more intelligently supports democratic conditions in the Middle East. The combination of theoretical analysis and concrete examples sometimes makes for awkward and dense prose, but the importance of the topic and Moghaddam's expertise in the psychology of individuals and societies along with his familiarity with Iran and Iraq make this a useful addition to libraries.-Elizabeth R. Hayford, formerly with Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Evanston, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275988258
  • Publisher: ABC-Clio, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/30/2006
  • Series: Praeger Security International Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,267,610
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Why Consider the Terrorists' Point of View? 1
2 Identity Needs and Globalization 13
3 The Staircase to Terrorism 33
4 Ground Floor: Growing Dissatisfaction among the Multitudes 45
5 First Floor: How Do We Fight This Unfair System? 59
6 Second Floor: Those Americans Are to Blame! 71
7 Third Floor: The Ends Justify the Means 83
8 Fourth Floor: It's Us against Them 97
9 Fifth Floor: This "Heroic" Act Will Improve the World 113
10 Contextualized Democracy as a Solution to Terrorism 127
Appendix 147
Notes 161
Selected Bibliography 165
Index 171
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