Why Do People Become Terrorists? A Prosecutor’s Experiences


Spataro, Armando. 2008. “Why Do People Become Terrorists? A Prosecutor’s Experiences.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 6 (3): 507–24. doi:10.1093/jicj/mqn033.

Author: Armando Spataro


Undeniably the marginalization suffered by many Islamic emigrants (particularly from North Africa) and the consequent difficulties in fitting in the land of adoption, constitute contributory causes — of a socio-economic nature — of their drift into terrorism. However, a distorted view of the principles of Islam and a violent and criminal interpretation of the obligation of Jihad constitute the main factor of their drive. Statements made in the course of interrogation by arrested terrorists (especially by supergrasses, referred to in Italy as ‘repenters’) as well as ideological documents disseminated internationally on the internet or items seized in the course of various judicial enquiries consistently show that the religious view of the world, obviously in the distorted perspective specific to terrorists, constitutes the main reason for their behaviour, whereas practically no importance attaches to the aspiration to liberate specific occupied territories or oppressed peoples. Another possible motivation, at least for suicidal acts, is linked with those of an economic nature: in connection with various judicial investigations it has emerged that sums of money collected as voluntary contributions from the ‘faithful’ serves not to finance the ‘terrorist act’ as such, but to guarantee a future for family members of a suicide attacker, or someone who died in the course of a terrorist action.

Topics: Economies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Religion, Terrorism

Year: 2008

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