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Will it Ever be Possible to Profile the Terrorist?



'This paper critiques the claim that terrorists can be profiled – that is to say that terrorists possess distinguishable attributes that can be conceivably identified by an observer. In doing so, the most prominent profiling parameters - racial, gender, age, pathological, psychological and socioeconomic – are investigated. The above approaches are found to have little to no applied value in identifying terrorists from a societal population. The dominant criticisms of these methods emphasise their crude reductionism, an absence of internal and external validity, and their lack of practical application. Current evidence indicates that the profiling of terrorists is a futile venture.'
Will it Ever be Possible to Profile the Terrorist?
by Jonathan Rae
dentifying members of terrorist organisations and preventing them from carrying
out successful attacks is a core component of any anti-terrorism effort. The
fundamental task of this process is to separate the terrorist from the non-terrorist.
The most prevalent method of attempting to achieve distinction between these two groups is
to establish a set of psychological, socio-economic, physical, and/or racial attributes that
mark one from the other. In other words, what does a terrorist look like, what personality
traits do they possess and in what circumstances do they live and work? Essentially, it
constructs a terrorist profile comprised of certain perceptible qualities with which an
observed individual can be likened to, thus determining the probability of terroristic
tendencies within the subject. Press describes the process of profiling, as follows:
'In a large population of individuals… governments attempt to find the rare
malfeasor [terrorist, for example] by assigning prior probabilities to individuals, in
some manner estimating the chance that each is a malfeasor. Societal resources for
secondary security screening are then concentrated against individuals with the
largest priors’[1].
If terrorist profiling is possible, it would be an irresistibly attractive method for countering
terrorist attacks as it would maximise the efficiency of prophylactic resource allocation,
increasing the likelihood of the interception of a terrorist attack. As an example, terrorist
profiling could be used to focus assets at malfeasor populations within a crowd of lawful
travellers at an airport terminal. Equally, if not more importantly, would be the use of
terrorist profiling in observing parallels and similarities in the biographical records of
terrorists and subsequently providing insight into the root causes of terrorism. By analysing
the personal histories of terrorists, a terrorist personality is hoped to be discovered that
signposts individuals willing to ‘commit espionage or sabotage, try to overthrow the
government, commit terrorist acts, or otherwise engage in acts that would endanger national
security’ [2].
The reality, however, is that terrorist profiling has not proved to be the panacean silver
bullet against terrorism. Many explanations have been given as to the reasons why terrorist
profiling has, so far at least, failed to deliver [3] [4] [5]. This begs the question: “Will it ever
be possible to profile the terrorist?” Paramount to this discussion is the logic that drives
terrorist profiling efforts; that terrorists can be identified in comparison to a societal
population through the observation of noticeable, indicating traits and behavioural patterns.
The three most prominent approaches to terrorist recognition employ racial-physical,
psychopathological and socioeconomic attributes as profiling parameters. This paper will
investigate the merits and failings of these three profiling techniques in order to determine
whether the titular question - whether the terrorist can ever be profiled – is answerable.
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 64
Before investigating the methods of profiling terrorists, the fundamental difficulty of
definition within the field of terrorism studies must be introduced due to the relevance of
erecting operational boundaries in terrorist profiling. Defining the limits of the term
“terrorism” has been an obstinate stumbling block for terrorism experts; a difficulty that has
been evaded and confronted in equal measure by academics and other scholarly experts.
Most troubling is the lack of definitional unanimity [6]. For terrorist profiling, in particular,
ambiguity of the fundamental terminology has resulted in the bounds of the malfeasor to be
imprecise. This is because without a universal meaning of terrorism, a comprehensive
definition of terrorist is impossible. Any serious attempt to study terrorism must appreciate
this conceptual opacity. Until the discovery of a universal definition, if one can exist, the
efforts to further research the phenomenon must adopt working definitions in order to
achieve some clarity of meaning. Those creating a terrorist profile must do exactly that, with
particular detail to what actions differentiate a terrorist from a non-terrorist. Importantly, not
all of the activities involved in terrorism are illegal, particularly those which support the
ultimate action - the terrorist attack - through a peripheral network of terrorist sympathisers,
such as financiers, promoters and recruiters.
Racial, Gender and Age Profiling
The crudest and most egregious method of profiling terrorists is to identify potential
malfeasors based on racial characteristics. Implicit in racial profiling is the logic that
individuals of a certain race are, as a general rule, more likely to commit acts of terrorism.
In this thinking, ethnicity and alienage are viewed as adequate demographic divisions to be
proper subjects of scrutiny. Following the 9/11 attacks, racial profiling re-emerged as a
viable system for detecting potential terrorists and was implemented by the border security
agencies of many countries, notably the United States. Ellman writes that,
‘[to profile] on the basis of race and comparable factors, is both discriminatory and
foolish. Arabs and Muslims - to name the two most obvious targets for such reactions
today - are part of the American mainstream. Many are citizens. The vast majority…
are altogether innocent of any connection with terrorism. Meanwhile, some people
who are not Arabs… have apparently joined our enemies in Al Qaeda’ [7].
While it is true that the majority of current international terrorists are of Arab or Muslim
identity, this neglects the fact that a considerable number are not. The second most lethal
terrorist in American history, Timothy McVeigh, was a white American citizen. Also, the
majority of terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom have been orchestrated and
executed by predominantly white republican dissidents. To further deconstruct the cogency
of racial profiling, international terrorist organisations have circumvented such measures by
initiating attacks on targets thought to be outside of their expected theatre of operations,
such as the 1972 Lod Airport massacre in Tel Aviv by the Japanese Red Army (JRA) on
behalf of the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Clearly, relying on race
as the salient factor for profiling a terrorist is not a practical solution for an effective
counter-terrorist measure.
Another immutable dimension which is often employed to profile terrorists is biological
gender. Proponents of gender profiling argue that all of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 65
male, as were the 21 Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists arrested in Singapore in 2002 [8]. The
dominance of male terrorists should not be overstated. Despite having numerical superiority,
Russell and Miller warn against using simplistic male-centric profiling;
‘[Female terrorists] are more adept at allaying the suspicions of security personnel.
As a result, posing as wives or mothers, they often can enter areas that would be
restricted to males…’ [9].
Hudson writes that ‘women have played prominent roles in numerous urban terrorist
operations in Latin America’ [10]. Notorious Latin American female terrorists include the
Sandinista’s Dora María Téllez; Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front’s Ana María;
Montoneros’ Norma Ester Arostito; and a large portion of the M-19 details that seized the
Dominican Embassy in Bogotá in 1980 and the Colombian Palace of Justice in 1985.
Hudson writes that ‘[the female terrorists during the siege of the Palace of Justice] were
among the fiercest fighters’ [11]. The violent assault left 11 Supreme Court justices and 48
Colombian soldiers dead, and the building ravaged by fire. Prominent female terrorists
elsewhere include the JRA’s Fusako Shigenobu; PFLP’s Leila Khalid; the Irish Republican
Army’s Sisters of Death; the Red Army Faction’s Gudrun Ensslin and Susanne Albrecht;
and Baader-Meinhof’s eponymous Ulrike Meinhof. In fact, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang had
a 60% female membership and the militant feminist group, Rote Zora, comprised entirely of
women [12]. As with ethnicity, the use of gender as a dominant factor in terrorist profiling
is undermined by the weight of exceptions against the generalisation. An effective terrorist
profile must be constructed using meters that are more clearly indicative of terrorist
behaviour and that reduce the malfeasor population to a plausible size for secondary
The issue of age discrimination in terrorist profiling is also an example of the failure to limit
the filtering of a large population into a manageable group. There is no definitive age group
that terrorists fall into. Although the majority of terrorists are in their early twenty’s, the
average age of several terrorist groups is considerably lower [13] [14]. Hudson writes that
the LTTE had ‘many members in the 16 to 17 year-old age level and even members who
were preteens’ [15]. At the other extreme, the leadership hierarchies of terrorist
organisations tend to be markedly older than the mean age. Both Osama bin Laden and
Carlos Marighella were in their late 50’s when they were killed. The new head of al-Qaeda,
Ayman al-Zawahiri, turned sixty last year. When the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list was
published in 2001, the average age of the 22 individuals listed was 37 years-old. In light of
this variety, it is clear that age is a problematic measure of profiling potential terrorists. It is
of interest to note at this point that while race, age and gender profiling in the criminal
context - such as the routine searching of young black males by police patrols - is
condemned as prejudiced, unconstitutional or institutionally racist, the equivalent usage in
the terrorism context is largely overlooked by the general public. The populace’s relative
tolerance of these unsophisticated profiling techniques - and the infringements on individual
liberties that result from them - may be a consequence of the post-9/11 climate of fear and
the culture of terrorist stereotyping that has emerged from it.
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 66
Pathological and Psychological Profiling
Unlike racial and gender discrimination, psychological profiling is widely accepted in both
the study of criminology and as a method within law enforcement operations. There have
been multiple attempts to transfer its apparent success from the criminal environment to the
context of terrorism. Implicit in this approach is the belief in a causal connection between
abnormal psychopathological behaviour and terroristic tendencies. The presence of certain
exhibited personality traits or traumatic life experiences is believed to be suggestive of a
propensity towards terrorism. In the criminal context, psychological profiling is used as a
method of suspect identification, particularly in highly emotive cases involving rape
offenders, sexual-orientated killers and serial arsonists [16]. Several psychologists have
associated violent behavioural patterns with the presence of mental trauma, sexual
deprivation and/or an oppressive formative atmosphere in the perpetrator’s past [17] [18]
[19]. Adorno’s use of psychometric testing and clinical interviews of willing Holocaust
participants concluded that there existed an ‘authoritarian personality’ that was susceptible
to the influences of prejudicial and totalitarian directives. Lester, et al. transfer this work
into the field of terrorism studies by attaching to Islamic terrorists such proclivities as the
projection of internal guilt, the displacement of anger onto others, the submission to
conventionalism, aspirations of toughness and bravado and an absence of empathy [20]. The
work by Kagitcibasi into Islamic child raising practices is used by Lester, et al. to
demonstrate that Middle Eastern family traditions are more likely to produce authoritarian
personalities with recidivistic inclinations [21]. Volkan proposes that terrorists, particularly
those that drive others to martyr themselves, had suffered psychological trauma during their
childhoods [22]. Alternatively, Juergensmeyer suggests terrorism is a symbolic sexual
acting-out by young males confined by religious and social suppression and who are
attracted to the explosive nature of the terrorist act and the promise of virgins in the
hereafter [23].
Similar studies have been conducted to psychologically profile European terrorists. In
analysing right-wing Italian terrorism, Ferracuti and Bruno define an ‘authoritarian-
extremist personality’ characterised by pathological disturbance, ideological vacuity and a
psychological disconnection with reality [24]. Sullwold categorises German terrorist leaders
into two psychological profiles; the unstable, egotistic and apathetic extrovert, and the
intolerant, paranoid and hostile neurotic [25]. Post terms the combination of logical
reasoning and psychopathological terrorist influences as ‘terrorist psychologic’ - a system of
warped cognition that rationalises and legitimises ‘acts [terrorists] are psychologically
compelled to commit’ [26]. By compiling the numerous psychological studies into the
terrorist mind, their amalgamated results produce multiple terrorist personalities, or utilise
personality traits that are widely distributed in a population. Psychological profiling, so far,
has failed to determine a single ‘terrorist personality’. The commonality between these
psychological profiles is that the malfeasor is either insane or they hold a warped awareness
of reality. This is particularly seen as the case with suicide terrorism. Kushner writes that
Palestinian suicide bombers may be overwhelmed by a life experience which has generated
extreme feelings of anger and hopelessness, such as the result of losing several relatives or
close friends at the hands of Israeli security forces [27]. Salib and Rosenberger both
hypothesise that the rationality of suicide bombers is hijacked by desperation caused by a
perceived absence of hope, derailing them into a dependence on grandiose, paranoid
delusions [28] [29].
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 67
The endeavours of psychologists in profiling the terrorist have been limited to vague
implications of irrationality and insanity. Post notes that,
‘behavioral scientists attempting to understand the psychology of individuals drawn to
this violent political behaviour have not succeeded in identifying a unique “terrorist
mindset”’ [30].
Dean states that the employment of methods based on behavioural and clinical assessments
appear ‘to be of very limited use when applied to terrorists, as no such definitive “terrorist
personality” has been found to exist in the scholarly literature’[31]. Dean describes
figurative ‘road blocks’ that obstruct the success of psychological profiling in a terrorism
context. The most prominent of these obstacles is the lack of any apparent psychological
dysfunction in the biographical records of terrorists. There are two responses that could be
drawn from this; firstly, that psychological profiling requires more primary data to deliver
significant results; or, secondly, that psychological profiling is intrinsically a fruitless
endeavour. The former conclusion is espoused by Lester, et al. who write that the absence of
first-hand assessments result in the records of many terrorists, most patently suicide
bombers, to draw from a process of ‘psychological autopsy’ [32]. Other scholars dismiss the
possibility of a terrorist personality altogether. Wilkinson states that; ‘We already know
enough about terrorist behaviour to discount the crude hypothesis of a “terrorist personality”
or “phenotype”’ [33]. Laqueur writes that the search for a unique ‘terrorist personality’ has
been a futile venture [34]. The focal point of this argument is that terrorists are as likely to
suffer from a mental illness as the population at large are - or at least to an imperceptible
differential. Moghaddam states that; ‘Critical assessments of the available evidence suggest
that there is little validity in explanations of terrorism that assume a high level of
psychopathology among terrorists’ [35]. McCauley writes that;
‘[Systematic research into the biographical records of the Baader-Meinhof Gang
conclude that they] did not differ from the comparison group of nonterrorists in any
substantial way; in particular, the terrorists did not show higher rates of any kind of
psychopathology’ [36].
Proponents of the normalcy of the terrorist mind depict the social environment that terrorists
operate in. Terrorists are generally not delinquents or recluses, but thrive in an atmosphere
of interdependence. Clark’s investigations into ETA found that its members are not socially
marginalised or mentally disturbed; instead, they belonged to a close-knit ethnic community
and were supported by loving families [37]. Unlike lone wolves, the terrorist group relies on
‘mutual commitment and trust’ and ‘the cooperation between groups’, as demonstrated by
the four 9/11 hijacking groups, which is ‘radically inconsistent with the psychopathic
personality’ [38]. In fact, Townshend writes that terrorists are ‘disturbingly normal people’
and Crenshaw notes: ‘What limited data we have on individual terrorists… suggest that the
outstanding characteristic is normality’ [39] [40]. Without the supposition of mental illness
– a denigration due to a fundamental attribution error - psychological profiles resort to
assigning subtler personality traits found in many sane members of the public [41]. For
example, Post describes terrorists as ‘action-oriented, aggressive people who are stimulus-
hungry and seek excitement’, which, even if accurate, would cover a sizable demographic of
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 68
those in the military, security or emergency services [42]. It is now generally accepted that
as opposed to serial killers, pyromaniacs and rapists, the terrorist mind follows rational
decision-making and attends to a coherent political philosophy that facilitates the use of
violence as a tool of strategic and communicative value. The motives of terrorists are
inherently socio-political, relating to a group philosophy rather than individual psychology.
From this perspective, terrorism is a manifestation of political militancy, albeit in an
intentionally audacious form, and the rationality of its actions should not be considered in
isolation from their purposes.
Another criticism of the psychological profiling of terrorists is that the terrorist organisation,
as with a legal enterprise, recruits many personalities in order to fulfil a diversity of
functions. The composition of a terrorist organisation is far from homogenous, and requires
the skills of not only hijackers and bombers, but bomb-makers, smugglers, leaders,
disciplinarians, orators, communicators, trainers and financiers. The work undertaken by
these roles culminates in the overall terrorist campaign. The complexity of a single terrorist
organisation, not to mention the variety of terrorist movements as a whole, leads Hudson to
write that;
‘The personalities of terrorists may be as diverse as the personalities of people in any
lawful profession. There do not appear to be any visibly detectable personality traits
that would allow authorities to identify a terrorist’ [43].
Psychological profiling is an inadequate form of discerning between the terrorist and the
non-terrorist due to both the diversity and normalcy of the personalities that constitute a
terrorist organisation’s membership.
Socioeconomic Profiling
The final profiling technique which will be examined is the use of socioeconomic measures.
This strand of terrorist profiling relies on the premise that terrorist proclivity can be
ascertained through information on an individual’s social status, education, livelihood and
marital status, amongst other factors. The general belief among international leaders is that
“poverty lies at the heart of terrorism”, as purported by Desmond Tutu and South Korean
President Kim Dae Jong, and “education reduces terrorism”, as supported by the Dalai
Lama and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel [44] [45]. These blanket suppositions do not always
correlate with real world research. An example of this incongruity can be seen in Russell
and Miller’s analysis of eighteen different terrorist organisations and 350 individual
terrorists active in the decade following 1966 [46]. Their research concluded that ‘[the
observed terrorists] have been largely single males... who have some university education, if
not a college degree’. From this, terrorists are more likely to be single, and, more
surprisingly, they are likely have undertaken higher or further education. The same
conclusion is drawn from the study of West German terrorists during that period;
‘Whether having turned to terrorism as a university student or only later, most were
provided an anarchist or Marxist world view, as well as recruited into terrorist
operations while in the university’ [ibid.].
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 69
Hudson writes that; ‘The RAF and Red Brigades were composed almost exclusively of
disenchanted intellectuals’ [47]. Dean’s study of the thirty-six Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists
arrested in 2001 and 2002 found that most of the members had high levels of education
[48]. Besides a defining commonality of religion and above average education, the terrorist
sample was socially and economically unremarkable. As with the other profiling measures,
education does not, frustratingly for the profilers, paint a uniform portrait of a terrorist. A
distinction can be made between the urban terrorist and the rural terrorist; the former – such
as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades – are typically
highly educated, whereas rural movements – such as the Armed Islamic Group, PKK and
FARC – tend to be characterised by a poorly educated membership. Citing the works of
Nolan and Sprinzak, Lester, et al. depict several cases of oscillating demographic
dimensions that ‘change with time and place’ [49] [50] [51]. This shows that terrorism, in
part at least, is concomitant to the political environment, and, therefore, it is expectable that
as social and economic circumstances evolve, so does the composition of the terrorist
demographic. It can be concluded that a successful attempt to profile the terrorist must
recognise that its assessment is both ephemeral and context-specific.
Behavioural Detection
The lack of definitive success in profiling terrorists based on the dimensions of race, gender,
age, pathology, psychology and socioeconomic factors has led to other methods of
processing a population in order to detect malfeasors. The intention of these newer
techniques is to avoid dimensional profiling due the already explained differences between
terrorist movements, between roles within terrorist organisations and between the
personalities and motives of individual terrorists. Instead, abnormalities in physiology and
behaviour are detected by using technology and behavioural detection officers to monitor
individuals at security points. The obvious benefit to this approach is that it requires no
previous knowledge of the individual’s personal history. The US Transport Security
Administration implemented the Screening of Passengers through Observation Techniques
(SPOT) programme in 2003 to ‘identify potentially high security risk individuals by
screening travellers for behaviours that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception’[52].
SPOT has met with increasing criticism for not being able to detect terrorists: There have
been 23 occasions where terrorists have travelled through SPOT security points and no
interceptions have been made using the technique [53]. As Meyer points out: ‘Put bluntly,
the program has a 100% failure rate’ [54]. Many scholars are sceptical as to whether the
observation of behavioural and micro-facial movements is scientifically proven to be able to
determine future violent intent. Honts, et al. raise several concerns:
‘First, scientific research does not support the notion that microexpressions reliably
betray concealed emotion… Second, whereas brief facial activity may reveal the
purposeful manipulation of a felt emotion… the problems of interpretation of such
manipulation renders the approach useless for practical purposes… In conclusion, the
use of microexpressions to establish credibility is theoretically flawed and has not been
supported by sound scientific research’ [55].
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 70
Unless the employment of brief behavioural observation to identify future malicious intent
in an individual is scientifically proven, and palpable results are forthwith, SPOT and
similar programmes will continue to be rightfully derided by critics.
The task of profiling the terrorist has been a long and drawn-out process that has seen a
revival of interest in the post-9/11 era. During the seventies and eighties, many
psychologists, sociologists, political scientists and international security academics sought
to systematically record terrorist data in order to construct profiles organised around various
parameters. The crudest profiles used immutable traits such as race and biological gender,
while others endeavoured to define the terrorist through psychopathological or
socioeconomic measurements. The initial obstacle facing all of these efforts was
definitional, as is still the case today. This is because the fundamental terminology under
investigation – terrorism – has not been universally defined. Working definitions employed
by different studies vary and, therefore, the internal validity of recorded data and the
generalised conclusions drawn from that data is considerably weakened. Regardless of this
preliminary hindrance, the profiling of terrorists fails to result in any definitive phenotype of
the universal terrorist. For instance, the use of racial profiling to monitor a population for
potential international terrorists would result in a discrimination of security checks against
Arabs, which total over 5 million people living in the United States alone. Overlooking the
sheer size of this demographic, the fact remains that not all terrorists are Arabs. The
implementation of racial stereotypes into terrorist profiling is not only imprecise, but has
considerable ramifications for the individual liberty of the population being monitored. This
has equal severity in the instances of gender and age profiling.
The argument for psychological profiling in the context of terrorism also falls short in its
claim that a terrorist personality or personalities exist. Although some scholars argue that
with more primary data, psychological profiling will be substantiated as a successful
measure, the current evidence concludes that no causal progression from mental illness to
terroristic intention occurs. Psychological profiling is further stifled by the apparent
normalcy and sociability of many terrorists. Ethno-nationalists, in particular, are intertwined
into an interdependent close-knit community which requires high levels of trust and mutual
commitment, far from the notions of psychosis or other pathological disorders.
Psychological profiles that incorporate subtler but ubiquitous personality traits, such as
aggression and thrill-seeking, do not provide enough specificity to be of any practical
application to the countering of terrorism. On the other hand, socioeconomic profiles do
display some merit in specific temporal and geographic contexts, but are soon invalidated
due to the fluidity of the political environment and the evolving terrorist-counterterrorist
dichotomy. Due to the need of a considerable amount of biographical data and the lack of
longevity or generalisability, such profiles have limited practical use in combating emerging
terrorist threats. Socioeconomic profiles succeed in demonstrating one thing - the
multiplicity and complexity of the phenomenon of terrorism.
To succinctly answer this paper’s titular question - Will it ever be possible to profile the
terrorist? This author believes that the usage of one-dimensional measurements to profile
the terrorist is a futile endeavour and is likely to remain so in light of the current research. It
may be argued that a successful terrorist profile can be created by amalgamating several
unsuccessful one-dimensional assessments into a multi-dimensional profile. This is clearly a
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 71
recipe for compounding failure because, with each additional dimension added, the profile’s
scope becomes more and more extraneous to the diverse nature of the modern international
terrorist. As an alternative to profiling the terrorist, a more lucrative venture may be to
transcend the individual by profiling terrorism as a process within a complex system [56]
[57]. This perspective is particularly pertinent today in order to profile terrorism as an
increasingly globalised phenomenon.
About the author: Jonathan Rae is a Terrorism Studies Postgraduate at the Centre for the
Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews, and a graduate of the
University of Leeds. Prior to his postgraduate studies, Jonathan worked as a foreign affairs
researcher for Senator Richard G. Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, and a defence researcher for Lord Astor of Hever, Junior Defence Minister.
Jonathan currently works for the Games Intelligence Cell, London2012.
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[2] Siggins P., Racial Profiling in an Age of Terrorism (2002), Available online: <
[3] Crenshaw, M., ‘The Causes of Terrorism, Past and Present’, in The New Global Terrorism, ed. Kegley, C. (Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Pearson, 2000) 92-105.
[4] Bongar, B., ‘The Psychology of Terrorism: Defining the Need and Describing the Goals’, Psychology of Terrorism, eds. Bongar,
B., et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) 3-12.
[5] Moghaddam, F., ‘The Staircase to Terrorism: A Psychology Exploration’, Psychology of Terrorism, eds. Bongar, B., et al.
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) 69-80.
[6] Schmidt, A.P. and A.I. Jongman, Political Terrorism (Amsterdam: Transaction, 1988).
[7] Ellman, S.J., ‘Racial Profiling and Terrorism’, in New York Law School Law Review, vol.46 (2003) 688.
[8] Dean, G., ‘Criminal Profiling in a Terrorism Context’, in Criminal Profiling: International Theory, Research, and Practice, ed.
Kocsis, R.N. (Totowa, NJ: Humana Press Inc., 2007) 183.
[9] Russell, C.A. and B.H. Miller, ‘Profile of a Terrorist’, in Terrorism: An International Journal, vol.1: no.1 (1977) 22.
[10] Hudson, R., The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who becomes a Terrorist and why? (Washington, DC: Library of
Congress, 1999) 53.
[11] Ibid. Hudson, 53.
[12] Graham, S., ‘Mother and Slaughter: A Comparative Analysis of the Female Terrorist in the LRA and FARC’, in African Politics:
Beyond the Third Wave of Democratisation, ed. Pretorius, J. (Cape Town: Juta and Co, 2008) ch.10, 206.
[13] Ibid. Russell and Miller, 31.
[14] Benmelech, E., and C. Berrebi, ‘Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers’, in Journal of Economic Perspectives,
vol.21: no.3 (2007) 224-225.
[15] Ibid. Hudson, 48.
[16] Kocsis, R.N., Criminal Profiling: Principles and Practices (Totowa, NJ: Humana, 2006).
JTR Volume 3, Issue 2 - Autumn 2012 72
[17] Volkan, V., ‘September 11 and Societal Regression’, in Group Analysis, vol.35 (2002) 456-483.
[18] Juergensmeyer, M., Terror in the Mind of God, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001).
[19] Adorno, T.W., E. Frenkel-Brunswik, D.J. Levinson and R.N. Sanford, The Authoritarian Personality (NewYork: Harper, 1950).
[20] Lester, D., B. Yang and M. Lindsay, ‘Suicide Bombers: Are Psychological Profiles Possible?’, in Studies in Conflict and
Terrorism vol.27 (2004) 292.
[21] Kagitcibasi, C., ‘Social Norms and Authoritarianism’, in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol.16 (1970) 444-451.
[22] Ibid. Volkan.
[23] Ibid. Juergensmeyer.
[24] Ferracuti, F. and F. Bruno, ‘Psychiatric Aspects of Terrorism in Italy’, in The Mad, the Bad and the Different: Essays in Honor of
Simon Dinhz, eds. Barak-Glantz, I.L. and C.R. Huff (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1981) 209.
[25] Sullwold, L., ‘Biographical Features of Terrorists’, in World Congress of Psychiatry, Psychiatry: The State of the Art, vol.6
(New York: Plenum, 1985).
[26] Post, J., ‘Terrorist psycho-logic: terrorist behavior as a product of psychological forces’, in Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies,
Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind, ed. Reich, W. (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1998) 25-42.
[27] Kushner, H.W., ‘Suicide Bombers’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism’, vol.19 (1996) 329-337.
[28] Salib, E., ‘Suicide Terrorism’, in British Journal of Psychiatry, vol.182 (2003) 475-476.
[29] Rosenberger, J., ‘Discerning the Behavior of the Suicide Bomber’, in Journal of Religion & Health, vol.42 (2003) 13-20.
[30] Post, J., ‘Individual and Group Dynamics of Terrorist Behavior’, in World Congress of Psychiatry, Psychiatry: The State of the
Art, vol.6 (New York: Plenum, 1985) 103.
[31] Ibid. Dean, 172.
[32] Ibid. Lester, Yang and Lindsay, 283.
[33] Wilkinson, P., Terrorism and the Liberal State (New York: New York University Press, 1986) 193.
[34] Laqueur, W., The Age of Terrorism (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1987) 129.
[35] Ibid. Moghaddam, 70.
[36] McCauley, C., ‘Psychological Issues in Understanding Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism’, Psychology of Terrorism, ed.
Stout, E. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004) 36.
[37] Clark, R., ‘Patterns in the Lives of ETA Members’, in Terrorism, vol.6: no.3 (1983) 423.
[38] Ibid. McCauley.
[39] Townshend, C., Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) 16.
[40] Crenshaw, M., ‘The Causes of Terrorism’, in Comparative Politics, vol.13: no.4 (1981) 390.
[41] Horgan, J., The Psychology of Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2005) 48.
[42] Ibid. Post (1998) 27.
[43] Ibid. Hudson, 60.
[44] Ibid. Moghaddam, 70.
[45] Atran, S., ‘Genesis of Suicide Terrorism’, Science, vol.299 (2003) 1536.
[46] Ibid. Russell and Miller, 31.
[47] Ibid. Hudson, 49.
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[48] Ibid. Dean, 181-183.
[49] Nolan, S., ‘Portrait of a Suicide Bomber’, in Independent on Sunday (10 March 1996) 13.
[50] Sprinzak, E., ‘Rational Fanatics’, in Foreign Policy (September 2000) 66–73.
[51] Ibid. Lester, Yang and Lindsay. 285.
[52] Perry, M. and A. Gilbey, ‘The Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques Programme’, Aviation Security International,
vol.17: no.3 (2011) 12.
[53] Ibid.
[54] Meyer, D.L., ‘The SPOT Program’, Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class, vol.10 (2010) 292.
[55] Honts, C. R., M. Hartwig, S.M. Kleinman and C.A. Meissner, ‘Credibility Assessment at Portals: Portals Committee Report’,
Final Report of the Portals Committee to the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment (U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency, 2009).
[56] Ibid. Sprinzak.
[57] Ibid. Dean,157.
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... At the heart of the discursive critique, we find strong sentiments of Islamophobia (Güney, 2010;Mares, 2014). Moreover, it should be pointed out that all efforts to profile future terrorist have come up short (Rae, 2012). ...
Although it seems that multiculturalism has been dismissed as a failed experiment or sham in the public debate, there has been an ongoing internal academic discussion of theoretical approaches to multiculturalism. This theoretical dialogue is, of course, parallel to and affected by developments in society. This article dissects and analyses some key and ‘classical’ nodes in the theoretical exploration of multiculturalism and brings forward key dimensions in this field of research. The main bulk of the literature used is from the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the twenty-first century. The most significant works on multiculturalism were written during this period and what we see today is often a more politicized discussion of multiculturalism. The article discerns and identifies some key dimensions and questions in the theoretically informed discussion of multiculturalism. Four challenges are identified. The first concerns the conceptualization of collective or group identities. The second concerns the discussion of ‘race’ and ethnicity and the third identity politics. A fourth challenge is raised by questions about the limits of the national space and about transnationalism.
... The impact of these findings should not be underestimated. The publication of Schmidtchen's findings still resonates in literature seeking to explain terrorist behaviour today (Houssier, 2016;MacDonald, 2014;Opoku-Agyemang, 2017;Rae, 2012). ...
... Adli risk analizleri yürütülürken ortaya çıkabilen risklere örnek olarak terörizm ile ilgili ortaya konulan risk analizleri verilebilir. Rae (2012)'ye göre terör konusunda sürdürülen risk analizlerinde çoğunlukla 3 risk faktör kullanılmaktadır; ...
İÇ GÜVENLİK YÖNETİMİ VE SUÇ ÖNLEME STRATEJİLERİ: Hukuksal alanda suç yasalara aykırı davranış, cürüm olarak tanımlanmaktadır (T. C. Adalet Bakanlığı, 2018). Suç aynı zamanda sosyal kuralların ihlali niteliğindeki davranışlar şeklinde de ele alınabilir (Schullar ve Ogloff, 2001). Suç teşkil eden davranışlar kanunlar çerçevesinde belirlenip tanımlanmakla beraber sosyal normlara rağmen hukuki olarak suç kapsamına alınan davranışların zaman içerisinde kanun koyucular tarafından suç kapsamından çıkarılmak zorunda kaldığı görülmüştür. Örneğin, 1920 yılında ABD’de alkollü içeceklerin üretilmesi, nakliyesi ve satılması yasaklanmış ve yasağın uygulanması konusunda ciddi yaptırımların uygulanmasına rağmen toplumsal baskılar sonucunda 13 yıl sonra kanun değişikliğine gidilerek söz konusu yasak kaldırılmıştır. Bu bölüm iç güvenlik yönetimi ve suç önleme stratejileri konusunu psikoloji temelli bir bakış açısıyla değerlendirmektedir.
... The impact of these findings should not be underestimated. The publication of Schmidtchen's findings still resonates in literature seeking to explain terrorist behaviour today (Houssier, 2016;MacDonald, 2014;Opoku-Agyemang, 2017;Rae, 2012). ...
Many early published analyses of the terrorist placed psychopathy as the core explanatory variable for terrorist behaviour. This speculative opinion was derived mainly from popular culture, and the desire to attribute mental disorders to those committing such violent acts. Poor research designs and a lack of empiricism ultimately undermined these arguments in favour of terrorism being rooted in disorders of personality. Multiple studies supporting psychopathic and personality-level explanations were conducted in the absence of rigorous clinical diagnostic procedures. Despite the methodological issues, concluding remarks from this research continues to hold instinctive appeal across the research field. This incentivises a need for a rigorous synthesis of the evidence base. The objective of this systematic review is to assess the impact of personality upon attitudes, intentions, and behaviours in the context of radicalisation and terrorism. This paper follows the same systematic process as the Gill et al. paper in this special issue. However, we use the model to interrogate the existing empirical literature on personality and terrorism in terms of its coverage, common themes, methodological strengths and weaknesses and implications. The search strategy for the systematic review is based on the Campbell Collaboration method. Results and their implications are discussed.
... Decisions to disengage are made in a social and cultural context. Significant others play a key role in bringing about behavioural change among former neo-Nazis (Bjørgo, 2009;Kimmel, 2007Kimmel, , 2018Mattsson & Johansson, 2018;McCauley & Moskalenko, 2011;Moghaddam, 2005;Sageman, 2004;Sikkens, 2017;Rae, 2012;Roy, 2007). For their part, pull factors often include finding new and returning to old friendships (Bubolz & Simi, 2015;Simi et al., 2017;Windisch et al., 2017). ...
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This article explores the relationship between disengagement and deradicalization processes among 15 individuals who have left the neo-Nazi movement. The participants in this study were initially interviewed in 2015, and the interview process is still ongoing. In this particular study, the differences between individuals who disengaged publicly, that is, those who did not or could not conceal their engagement with the movement, and individuals who were able to and/or wanted to keep their past a secret, are studied. The analysis of the interviews has focused on the outcomes of revealed or concealed stigmatization, in particular in relation to how disengagement was or was not followed by deradicalization. The findings suggest that those who disengaged publicly followed a clear path from disengagement to deradicalization, whereas those who tried to conceal their former involvement in the neo-Nazi movement showed a more complex pattern. Among the latter are individuals who are not yet deradicalized. However, they want to live “ordinary” lives and to have a family, free from fear that neighbours or people at work will stigmatize them and dissociate themselves from them. It is also clear that these participants were to a greater extent less satisfied with life in general. The findings also stress the ethical problems involved in using former neo-Nazis as public examples, as this traps them into a former neo-Nazi identity, thus creating new trauma.
In the decade since the publication of the first edition of The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology, the field has expanded into areas such as social work and education, while maintaining the interest of criminal justice researchers and policy makers. This new edition provides cutting-edge and comprehensive coverage of the key theoretical perspectives, assessment methods, and interventions in forensic psychology. The chapters address substantive topics such as acquisitive crime, domestic violence, mass murder, and sexual violence, while also exploring emerging areas of research such as the expansion of cybercrime, particularly child sexual exploitation, as well as aspects of terrorism and radicalisation. Reflecting the global reach of forensic psychology and its wide range of perspectives, the international team of contributors emphasise diversity and cross-reference between adults, adolescents, and children to deliver a contemporary picture of the discipline.
This chapter sets out the field of terrorism studies and reviews the main issues and research directions that characterise the field today. The history of the discipline is summarised and terrorism and its ‘near neighbour’ hate crime are defined and compared before turning to the developments that have dominated the research agenda over the last ten years.
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z Kuramsal ve yöntemsel olarak iyi yapılandırılmış adli risk analizleri uygulayıcılara sistematik ve delile dayalı öngörüler sunma işlevini yerine getirebilirler. Diğer taraftan etkili bir şekilde yapılandırılmamış risk analiz uygulamaları ise yüksek riskli hükümlülerin erken tahliye edilmeleri veya düşük risk grubunda bulunan gençlerin özgürlüklerine gereksiz sınırlamalar getirilmesi gibi ciddi sorunlara neden olabilmektedir. Dolayısıyla risk analiz araçlarının kanıt temelli yöntemlerle tasarlanması olası risklerin etkin bir şekilde yönetilebilmesi için büyük önem taşımaktadır. Literatürde yapılan araştırmalara göre risk analizleri genel olarak araçsız uzman görüşleri, aktüeryal risk analizleri ve yapılandırılmış uzman risk muhakemelerini içeren yöntemler kullanılarak yapılandırılmaktadır. Bu üç yöntem arasında birçok farklılıklar bulunmakla birlikte en önemli ayrışma nesnellik ve öznellik boyutundadır. Araçsız uzman görüşleri tam anlamıyla öznel profesyonel tecrübe ve değerlendirilen kişi ile ilgili bilgilere dayanan öngörüleri içermektedir. Kontrol listelerindeki risk faktörlerinin değerlendirildiği aktüeryal risk analizleri uygulayıcıların kişisel görüşlerine yer vermeyen nesnel öngörüleri kapsamaktadır. Diğer taraftan, yapılandırılmış uzman muhakemelerinde ise risk göstergeleri uygulayıcılara sistematik olarak riskleri belirleme ve yorumlamalarında yol gösterme işlevini yerine getirmektedir. Bu çalışmada, farklı risk analiz yöntemlerinin güçlü ve zayıf yönleri karşılaştırılacak olup; sonrasında ise gençler arasında şiddet içeren radikalleşme hususuna yer verilerek, risk analizi bağlamında tartışılmaktadır. Gençler arasındaki şiddet içeren radikalleşme riskinin ayrışık ve belirsiz yapılı riskleri içermesi nedeniyle aktüeryal veya araçsız uzman görüşü yöntemlerine karşın yapılandırılmış uzman muhakemelerinin daha sistematik ve delile dayalı öngörüler sunabileceği iddia edilebilir.
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Research on the characteristics of suicide bombers is reviewed. Contrary to previous commentary, it is suggested that suicide bombers may share personality traits (such as the "authoritarian personality") that psychological profiles of suicide bombers might be feasible, and that the suicide bombers may be characterized by the risk factors that increase the probability of suicide.‐
Reptiles: A Very Short Introduction introduces the extraordinary diversity of reptiles that have walked the Earth, from the dinosaurs and other reptiles of the past to modern-day living species. It discusses the adaptations reptiles made to first leave the water and colonize dry land, which fitted them for their unique ways of life. Considering the variety of different living groups of reptiles today, from lizards and snakes to crocodiles and turtles, it explores their biology and behaviour. Finally, this VSI assesses the threat of extinction to modern-day reptile species due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and climate change, and considers what can be done.
"Human bombs cannot be defeated, not even by nuclear bombs," declares the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. From Chechnya to Sri Lanka, terrorist groups are embracing this deadly strategy and deploying suicide bombers as their ultimate weapon. But they can be stopped.
Muslims have been using religion sanctioned suicide as an effective tool against the West for several centuries. In keeping with this practice, Islamic suicide bombers attack a superior Israeli military and government. Suicidal terrorism is actually an act of martyrdom that can trace its origins back 13 centuries to the Battle of Karbala. Appealing to tradition, recruiters enlist potential bombers from schools and mosques in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Bombers study religion, politics, and explosives. Students willingly become martyrs to secure a future for their families. Understanding that suicidal terrorism is not anathema to a significant proportion of the Muslim population is the first step in countering the problem.
One of the research needs under the topic “terrorism” has been to establish a sociological profile of terrorists active in the contemporary urban phenomenon. Using data predominantly from foreign news sources, the authors posit a general profile of today's terrorist. Statistics compiled on over 350 known terrorists from eighteen Middle Eastern, Latin American, West European and Japanese groups revealed the composite terrorist as a single male, aged 22 to 24, with at least a partial university education, most often in the humanities. Terrorists who have practiced vocations have generally been in law, medicine, journalism, teaching and—in only Turkish and Iranian groups—engineering and technical occupations. Today's terrorist comes from an affluent middle‐ or upper‐class family that enjoys some social prestige. The university served as the recruiting ground for all but one of the groups surveyed, and it was there that most terrorists were first exposed to the ideas of Marxism or other revolutionary theories. Despite the Marxist motivation claimed for their actions, it is believed that most terrorists derive much of their impetus from frustration mixed with anarchist or nihilist notions. Several potential trends warrant considerable further scrutiny. These include a general lowering of the entry age into operational activity, increased involvement by technically trained individuals, and ever‐increasing operational and leadership roles for women.