PSYC 360 – Terrorism

22 Dec No Comments

Select and discuss, with detail, either a radical political ideology or radical religious ideology well known for inspiring terrorist behavior. Discuss the details of this ideological effort, its roots, significant movements, leaders, and substantial effects gained as a result of the ideology, historically

 Pol Pot was the leader of the communist Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement in Cambodia. After overthrowing the Cambodian government in 1975 and declaring Kampuchea as the new name of the country, the Khmer Rouge started to implement its vision of a new communist society upon the nation.

The Ideology of the Khmer Rouge was to create a classless society of peasant rural agricultural farmers who would rule themselves and return the country to an “idealized” golden age of the past. The ideology was called Year Zero, meaning that the society would start again from scratch. In order to achieve Year Zero, the populace had first to be cleansed of “Old Ideas”1starting by removing them from the urban areas to the rural ones. This was done by armed force and propaganda. The now Kampuchea army forced everyone out of the cities including the old, sick and infirm. Anyone who refused to go, questioned the move or was tardy was murdered. This was the beginning of the genocide.

 The party policy to implement Year Zero required that all those who had been exposed to modern (Western) education be exterminated, therefore all the educated; lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers and qualified professionals in all fields that were thought to be a threat to the new regime were murdered along with their extended families. All factories, hospitals, schools and universities were shut down.

Cultural cleansing was commenced and all forms of cultural artifacts were destroyed, books were burned, artworks destroyed and music was banned, any cultural activity not in conformity with the regimes doctrine was suppressed. To be in possession of a musical instrument, a radio, or any form of “modern” implement (including spectacles) would result in summary execution.

 Religion was banned and religious believers were sought out and killed.

During that time, an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians died of starvation, execution, disease or overwork.

Question

Examine the psychological composition of a suicide bomber. Discuss the role of religious meaning and sacrificing of the self in understanding the psychology of a suicide bomber. Explore whether these factors complicate the development of a psychological profile and if the argument for the mental health model applied in the case of terrorist behavior is further supported by such cases.

For whatever reason, no matter how outwardly nice we may seem, we find a “viseral thrill” (Shpanzer, 2010) in inflicting brutality on others. While this instrinsic desire by itself does not determine a sucide bomber’s actions, this natural inclination towards this terrible task is part of the motivation. Mixed up in this motivation, Shpanzer (2010) argues is society’s programming, which gives the bomber his/her identity. We can only assume that a bomber who has carried out an act has submerged his individual identity and adopted the group identity of the cause, making himself believe that everything he does serves his terrorist organization’s higher purpose. Finally, suicide bombers act with a belief in “true believerism,” the belief that a final act such as a sucide bombing is the completion of a process towards true belief and total reward in heaven. In other words, it is the last step that he or she must carry out as part of some initiation into true belief to earn status among a religious figure.

Question

Explain the concept and misconceptions of the act of jihad. Discuss the ways in which this has been understood and displayed by those engaging in radical Islamism. Share the ways in which these interpretations conflict with what is shared and understood by non-extremists followers of Islam

Unfortunately terrorists have taken that word and manipulated it. Similarly the swastika has had the same treatment as a once religious symbol has been altered to fit a violent agenda. The term jihad means holy war. But the crux is that the war translation was meant to be struggle. It is all about ones struggle to do what is right and to fight back against committing sin to become a good Muslim. Terrorists have hijacked the word and turned it into a war against those the terrorists have deemed infidels. The twisting and manipulation of the word has allowed people to use it as permission of war. This conflict between the terrorists and non-extremists has boiled over in the last decades and has resulted in bloodbaths of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Due to their alluring nature people have joined the extremists under a false doctrine they state is the real faith of the Quran.

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