SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Saiya, N., & Scime, A. (2014). Explaining religious terrorism: A data-mined analysis. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 32, 487-512.

Abstract: What is the relationship between religious liberty and faith-based terrorism? The wider literature on freedom and terrorism has failed to reach a conclusive verdict: some hold that restricting civil liberties is necessary to prevent acts of terrorism; others find that respecting such rights undermines support for terrorist groups, thus making terrorism less likely. This article moves the debate on liberty and terrorism forward by looking specifically at terrorism motivated by a religious imperative and a country’s level of religious liberty—something not attempted in previous studies. Using classification data mining, we test a unique dataset on religious terrorism in order to discover the characteristics that contribute to a country experiencing religiously motivated terrorism. The analysis finds that religious terrorism is indeed a product of a dearth of religious liberty. The study concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for policy-makers.

Journal Article 2: Perlinger, A., & Pedahzur, A. (2014). Counter cultures, group dynamics and religious terrorism. Political Studies, 64, 297-314.

Abstract: Totalistic ideologies are breeding grounds for radicalization. Communities that adhere to such ideologies tend to rally when they feel threatened by powerful outsiders. Under such circumstances, community leaders become central. If they frame the situation as an existential threat to the community itself or to its most sacred values, they will accelerate the radicalization process and subsequently increase the prospects of violent actions by group members. The shift to violence takes place in the framework of close-knit social networks within the broader radicalized community. These networks consist of individuals who usually live in the same area and engage in continuous interaction among themselves. Such interactions bolster their communal commitment and develop a collective mindset that facilitates the slide of some of the individuals into violence. Those who eventually descend into terrorism usually exhibit strong identification with the community’s values and extreme alienation towards the outside world. They also enjoy high levels of biographical availability. These hypotheses are tested using the case study of Jewish terrorism in Israel between 1948 and 2006.