International Relations Kushay's Matter Bank

[AK] The Difficulties of Defining What Terrorism is


The term terrorism is defined as “a violent act done in pursuit of/in service of a political goal”. If the violence is not done in pursuit of a political goal, or if the pursuit of political goal isn’t violent, it isn’t terrorism.

This definition is straightforward in cases like ISIS, but there are still other vague scenarios such as:

1. A violent action that’s *inspired* by a certain organization, but the perpetrator isn’t a part of said organization. An example would be the San Bernardino attacks whose perpetrators were inspired by Middle-east terrorist groups, and Fins bury Mosque attack whose perpetrator was inspired by Britain First, a fascist far-right organization.

2. Meat producers in UK who are facing death threats from vegan activists.

In these cases, can the acts be defined as a terrorist attack? Should the related organization be labeled terrorist organization? This is to remind that terrorist cases isn’t a binary, and should be researched upon in a detailed manner.

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