Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 32, No 2 (2013)

Ideology and Narrative in Religiously Inspired Terrorism

Rob William James
Issued Date: 28 Feb 2014

Abstract


This article conducts case studies of Hamas and al-Qaeda before moving into a generalised discussion of religion and terrorism and especially suicide terrorism. It finds that religion does indeed have a role to play in the development and enactment of terrorism. However, this is deemed to be at the level of enabling and aggravating. Religion is found to be good at binding groups together via a narrative and with the assistance of ritual, but it is proposed that ideology and doctrine are relatively unimportant. Moreover, religion is not the ultimate cause, as the groups that carry out such attacks exist for non-religious, political reasons. Religion has particular effects and depending on the circumstances in which they are applied, the outcome can be radically different.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v32i2.243

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