Difficulties of Defining Terrorism

Assignment 1: Difficulties of Defining Terrorism

CRJ 440: Terrorism and Antiterrorism


The term terrorism is defined differently and means different things to many people, organizations, governments, and groups. This paper will summarize about four (4) different definitions of terrorism from agencies, nations, and people such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United Kingdom (UK), and Walter Laqueur. Paper will compare and contrast two (2) out of the four (4) definitions of terrorism and will provide a rationale for the differences between the two (2) definitions that will be based upon the definitions of organizations, people, groups, and or governments. Additionally, in this paper, one (1) out of the four (4) definitions of terrorism will be chosen as to which defines the more accurately to the meaning and will recommend at least one (1) change or enhancement to the selected definition in accordance to the rationale of the change. Finally, this writer will create my own personal comprehensive definition of terrorism and will identify what the key criteria inherent in my personal definition as well as its importance.

Summarize Four (4) Different Definitions of Terrorism

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), (n.d.) defines terrorism in two (2) parts, International terrorism, and Domestic terrorism. International terrorism is when a person or group of people are influenced and exhilarated by foreign terrorist or nations organization extremists. Whereas, Domestic terrorism are also either done by a person or group of people but are merely inspired or influenced mainly by the United States movements such as politics, government, religious, racial, and or social issues.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), (2007), defines terrorism as conscious or premeditated, which means that a person or group of people are in full sound mind with an intent to measure, planned, and forethought the act, which in these cases are motivated by political means of violence towards noncombat targets! CIA also has its meaning of terms such as International terrorism and terrorist group. International terrorism is when the attack involves one or more countries of the citizen or their territory. Terrorist groups are those who practice international terrorism.

United Kingdom legislation (UK), (2006), defines terrorism as an act that is intended to present or make offenses to act in connection to the terrorist attack and related for terrorism. Due to this same cause or meaning, the Terrorist Act was established in 2006 in the UK and is intended to those who are subjected to direct or even indirect involvement or induce in preparation. It applies to any other participation of involvement of terrorism, under which acts or threats that are designed to influence a government.

Walter Laqueur defines terrorism as simple as possible yet broadly spectated as terrorism is the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people”. (Bruce., 2019).

Compare and Contrast Two (2) Definitions of Terrorism

And Provide a Rationale for the Differences

Walter Laqueur has terrorism distinguished to one meaning where it only means towards a political gain by attacking innocent people in the process. Laqueur and Wall highlight on how the groups and organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Alt-Right dove into an attack with false beliefs yet to hurt the people for political purposes. Stating the mere fact of how terrorists use violence in the name of values does not abide through them (The Future of Terrorism., 2018).

UK legislation sees terrorism just about as Laqueur did, as hurting the innocent people for political purposes however, the only difference is UK legislation deems it to be related to causing terrorism. Laqueur saw, for example, ISIS as to falsify the attack to gain solely to control the international sides for their reason to have a false belief and control the world. Similar to yet differentiates the meaning according to the UK to control only the government and the people who work for the nation. People tend to follow these groups or organizations for many multitude reasons but mainly to form a satisfaction of a social psychological aspect.

Which One (1) out of the Four (4) Defines Terrorism Accurately

Although there is not perfect or correct definition because terrorism is seen differently by people, groups, organizations, and countries same as to how terrorist looks at why and the many significant reasons that an attack has taken place. However, I believe that CIA hits on the nose of the definition of Terrorism because terrorist does premeditate the actions and plan according to what they expect to achieve from these heinous acts. International terrorists and terrorist groups deemed to have reasons to build these tactics over the years and having people join and recruiting those who have negative thoughts, increased anxiety to be easily motivated by seeing violence, and getting the point across.

One (1) Change or Enhancement towards the Definition of Terrorism

One change or enhancement could be made to figure out the ideology in those who have no cause to cause terror and why it justifies terrorism. America seems to be the most vulnerable country that the terrorist always seems to make Americans the target. Ideology has its ethical set of doctrines, myths, and or social movements and should be enhanced more deeply into the definition versus just using the term “ideology” as a single term because it has many meanings into one. It should be subjected to not many but to one definition of terrorism because it makes it less complicated in defining the real purpose of terrorism.

Create Own Personal Comprehensive Definition of Terrorism,

Identify the Key Criteria and the Importance

Terrorism is any individual or group of people who gather together to contemplate an attack to cause harm for any reason and to gain control. The key criteria in this definition are to control the people who are recruited and to control the people who do not follow them. The importance here is to attack the country and the citizens in it to show them that they are in control and they are motivated to pursue and do more harm if the government and the people do not adhere to these groups of people.


As the concept of terrorism has expanded over the years and the meaning of how it is outlined today reports back from the beginning of the rise of terrorism. Studies only point out how terrorism is in close relation to television because acts and ideas have been developed or given because of T.V. movies, shows, and or dramas. News also seems to affect the viewers because it motivates a lot of people who tend to become terrorist leaders. These leaders’ purpose is to stimulate newcomers, expand and increase the control over their groups and organizations. The bigger the group, the stronger the fight and use those who can gather information and construct a framework (White., 2017).


Bruce, G. (2019). Definition of Terrorism – Social and Political Effects. Journal of Military and

Veteran’s Health. Published by: Australasian Military Medicine Association.

Retrieved from


Central Intelligence Agency. (2007). Terrorism FQAs. Retrieved from


Federal Bureau of Investigations. (n.d.). Terrorism. What We Investigate. Retrieved from


Legislation Government United Kingdom. (2006). Terrorism Act of 2006. Retrieved from


The Future of Terrorism: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Alt-Right. (2018). Publishers Weekly265(19),

58. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost com.libdatab.strayer.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=129496985&site=eds-live&scope=site

White, J. (2017). Terrorism and Homeland Security. Ninth Edition. Cengage Learning.

Place an Order

Plagiarism Free!

Scroll to Top