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Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:45 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I am writing an article on misconceptions on terrorism, which means I need to learn what misconceptions the average American has about terrorism. So... how do I do that?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:52 pm UTC
by Angua
Search the American equivalent of the Daily Mail for articles about terrorism?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:28 pm UTC
by ucim
I think you'll find that there is no "average American"; this is especially evidenced by the sharp division in the election now taking place. I suspect you'll find a bipolar distribution in attitude; that is, many people with one opinion, many with it's opposite, and few in between. So be careful interpreting your data, and be sure to survey wide, whether your source is secondary or your own research.

Note that media articles may drive people's opinions as easily as they reflect them. You may need to do your own research to identify which is which.

Also, you should explicitly distinguish between Islamic terrorism and non-Islamic terrorism; when you just say "terrorism" you may get some people who interpret it narrowly and others who interpret the word broadly. Perhaps that's what you're trying to find out, but you need to know that that's what you're finding out, rather than that it's noise in the data.

Jose

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:15 am UTC
by morriswalters
Write down say 20 things you know about terrorism, compare what you write with whatever facts that you can get. In how many of them does the reality match what you wrote?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:20 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
The biggest misconception is that the terrorists usually come from religious backgrounds. While the people at the top often do and the ideology of the groups are steeped in religion and the Salafis have a lot to answer for, the suicide bombers themselves actually aren't that religious. What they are mostly made up of are disaffected young men looking for some sort of higher purpose, and the cult (yes, a cult) comes in and offers them instant salvation.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:40 am UTC
by ucim
So there's a difference between the motivation for terrorism, and the motivation for terrorists. It's an important distinction, but it's not uncommon elsewhere either. In ordinary business, the workers have a different motivation than the bosses. In either case, you have to solve a problem from the top, not the bottom.

Jose

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:30 am UTC
by jewish_scientist
Angua wrote:Search the American equivalent of the Daily Mail for articles about terrorism?

I actually started my research by googling 'terrorism Daily Mail'. However, once I realized that the Daily Mail was based in the U.K. I did not have any ideas on how to continue.

ucim wrote:I think you'll find that there is no "average American"; this is especially evidenced by the sharp division in the election now taking place. I suspect you'll find a bipolar distribution in attitude; that is, many people with one opinion, many with it's opposite, and few in between. So be careful interpreting your data, and be sure to survey wide, whether your source is secondary or your own research.

Note that media articles may drive people's opinions as easily as they reflect them. You may need to do your own research to identify which is which.

Also, you should explicitly distinguish between Islamic terrorism and non-Islamic terrorism; when you just say "terrorism" you may get some people who interpret it narrowly and others who interpret the word broadly. Perhaps that's what you're trying to find out, but you need to know that that's what you're finding out, rather than that it's noise in the data.

Everything you said is completely correct. However, by "average American" I was referring to non-famous Americans and I cannot make a survey because the article is due Wednesday.

morriswalters wrote:In how many of them does the reality match what you wrote?

I forgot to mention that I have an interview lined up with a very reliable source. He was giving a lecture on how people become radicalized and I asked for his email address. Not including that information in the OP was probably a big mistake on my part. Sorry.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:15 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
jewish_scientist wrote:I forgot to mention that I have an interview lined up with a very reliable source. He was giving a lecture on how people become radicalized and I asked for his email address. Not including that information in the OP was probably a big mistake on my part. Sorry.
Uh oh... You'll think it's an innocent conversation at first, but after a few seemingly convincing arguments and being sent links to certain sociology videos on YouTube you'll get drawn in and eventually you'll be prepared to give lectures on radicalisation to unsuspecting people, and the cycle will continue.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:44 pm UTC
by ucim
jewish_scientist wrote:However, by "average American" I was referring to non-famous Americans and I cannot make a survey because the article is due Wednesday.
Non-famous Americans are just as split as famous ones. Ok, you can't do the survey yourself but you can look critically at other surveys; the thing is to keep what I said in mind, and not simply accept the surveys at face value.

Or, take a different approach. The assignment is "an article on misconceptions on terrorism"; it doesn't have to be all encompassing. Take a single example (anecdote rather than an "average American") and pick apart how this particular attitude (may have) come about. It can be cautionary without needing to be representative. A possibility is attitudes towards the TSA, which has its origins in a particularly noteworthy terrorist act. There's lots of material on the effectiveness or lack of it of the TSA. Compare and contrast the TSA process with the "electronic frisking" that goes on every time you enter a department store, and how we've become inured to it. How does this affect one's attitude towards shoplifting, and can similar conclusions be drawn regarding (this aspect of) terrorism?

I don't know the thrust of the assignment - whether it is to show fact finding, cogent analysis, choice of material or topic... and perhaps the above is inapplicable. But, free internet advice is worth what you pay for it!

jewish_scientist wrote:I forgot to mention that I have an interview lined up with a very reliable source.
How do you determine the reliability of this "source"? Or of any source, for that matter? I would say right off that this is key. Especially since terrorism is (often) linked to religion, and religion is based on "reliable sources" that really aren't. You need to be careful that you don't fall into the same trap.

Jose

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:12 pm UTC
by morriswalters
jewish_scientist wrote:I am writing an article on misconceptions on terrorism, which means I need to learn what misconceptions the average American has about terrorism. So... how do I do that?
I take it from the nature of your response that you aren't an average American. Who is your target audience?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:39 am UTC
by Greatest I am
jewish_scientist wrote:I am writing an article on misconceptions on terrorism, which means I need to learn what misconceptions the average American has about terrorism. So... how do I do that?


You might start by showing them just how many thousands of terrorists you are talking about, as well as how many Muslims support their efforts.

These might help with that. Especially for the Basically Decent left.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... SPvnFDDQHk

Most also forget just how many attacks occur world wide.

http://www.therebel.media/tiffany_gabbay_april_19

Regards
DL

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:45 am UTC
by Greatest I am
CorruptUser wrote:The biggest misconception is that the terrorists usually come from religious backgrounds. While the people at the top often do and the ideology of the groups are steeped in religion and the Salafis have a lot to answer for, the suicide bombers themselves actually aren't that religious. What they are mostly made up of are disaffected young men looking for some sort of higher purpose, and the cult (yes, a cult) comes in and offers them instant salvation.


It is impossible to know if a jihadist is religious or not but it is easy to see why Islam produces so many if you read those stats in that link just above.

The vast majority of terrorists are jihadists but if you want to blame minority or non-religious sources for creating them, I think that that is you putting your head in the sand.

That is like saying that the religions are not the cause of most wars while knowing that the religious have been the majority forever. That too would be blaiming the minority for manipulating the majority to war.

Regards
DL

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:54 am UTC
by LaserGuy
jewish_scientist wrote:Everything you said is completely correct. However, by "average American" I was referring to non-famous Americans and I cannot make a survey because the article is due Wednesday.


I think you probably need to narrow your focus a bit, especially if you only have a couple days to write and you're still in the preliminary stages.

I guess the question is, are you writing an article that is more interested in what Americans think, or are you more interested in an article where you look at some well-understood statement and show why it is false. An example of the former might be: "Despite numerous inquiries and scientific studies, a startlingly large number of Americans, often called the 9/11 Truth Movement, believe that 9/11 was not planned by jihadists, but rather was an orchestrated plot by one of the American government, the CIA, or Israel, to drive the country into war in the Middle East"). Whereas one of the latter could be "When most Americans think about states that are major backers of terrorism, what typically comes to mind are states like Iran, Syria, or Saudi Arabia. Many Americans may be surprised to learn, however, that historically, the United States has also been a major backer of terrorism, most notably in the 1980s."

In the former case, you're more interested in showing what people think, and why they think it, rather than attempting to systematically debunk their beliefs; in the latter case, you're more or less taking it as given that Americans are likely to think this way, and go about describing state-backed terrorism by the United States.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:51 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
morriswalters wrote:Write down say 20 things you know about terrorism, compare what you write with whatever facts that you can get. In how many of them does the reality match what you wrote?


This is good for exploring YOUR misconceptions, but you're not necessarily average.

I'd go with statistics. Say, money spent to prevent terrorism relative to terrorism deaths. Compare against auto accidents or something. Get a nice contrast there. Easy day. Also, being based on hard stats gives you a solid basis, so you're not likely to have a disagreement with your professor over partisan whatever.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:33 pm UTC
by Greatest I am
These stats come from a reputable firm and might be helpful in showing how the Islam/Sharia ideology is not compatible with the Western ideology.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... SPvnFDDQHk

Regards
DL

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:48 pm UTC
by drifting
I like the Star Wars meme as a good way of getting people to take a look at terrorism from a different perspective ...

The story of an orphaned farm boy, radicalized after a military strike kills his family. He is indoctrinated into an ancient religion and joins a band of insurgents on a terrorist attack that kills 300,000 people.

The disconnect between what reads like a standard radicalisation narrative and the familiarity of Star Wars can open up a discussion.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:23 pm UTC
by Greatest I am
drifting wrote:I like the Star Wars meme as a good way of getting people to take a look at terrorism from a different perspective ...

The story of an orphaned farm boy, radicalized after a military strike kills his family. He is indoctrinated into an ancient religion and joins a band of insurgents on a terrorist attack that kills 300,000 people.

The disconnect between what reads like a standard radicalisation narrative and the familiarity of Star Wars can open up a discussion.


It is all a matter of perspective.

To a Muslim radical jihadist, he is a vigilante looking for justice. He would associate with Luke and not the other side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-sjvz6YKnQ

To a jihadist, we are Liberty Valance. To the West the Jihadist is Liberty Valance.

That is why the fight has to be moved to a war of words and ideologies.

Regards
DL

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:28 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
drifting wrote:I like the Star Wars meme as a good way of getting people to take a look at terrorism from a different perspective ...

The story of an orphaned farm boy, radicalized after a military strike kills his family. He is indoctrinated into an ancient religion and joins a band of insurgents on a terrorist attack that kills 300,000 people.

The disconnect between what reads like a standard radicalisation narrative and the familiarity of Star Wars can open up a discussion.


Except that most suicide bombers are not the orphans of airstrikes and such. Most of them are the people that would join any other cult; disaffected young men, outcasts from society, disowned by family with little support.

Curiously, this means that expanding gay rights in the Mid-East is an effective way to combat terrorism; if families stop disowning their gay children, and society stops shunning people for being gay, those people would be less likely to join a death cult...

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:16 pm UTC
by morriswalters
Tyndmyr wrote:This is good for exploring YOUR misconceptions, but you're not necessarily average.

Yeah, I am. Mine Trumps speech's then. They seem to represent the zeitgeist of half the country and appear to consist of misconceptions. It's a target rich environment as they say.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:11 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
I would recommend against blatantly partisan approaches to this, or other schoolwork assignments.

Yeah, some professors will agree with you, and some won't mark you down out of partisan grudges, but some definitely will. Don't take an option that might be bashing their political beliefs as stupid. Pick a topic that allows you to fulfill the assignment without picking sides.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:03 am UTC
by sardia
CorruptUser wrote:
drifting wrote:I like the Star Wars meme as a good way of getting people to take a look at terrorism from a different perspective ...

The story of an orphaned farm boy, radicalized after a military strike kills his family. He is indoctrinated into an ancient religion and joins a band of insurgents on a terrorist attack that kills 300,000 people.

The disconnect between what reads like a standard radicalisation narrative and the familiarity of Star Wars can open up a discussion.


Except that most suicide bombers are not the orphans of airstrikes and such. Most of them are the people that would join any other cult; disaffected young men, outcasts from society, disowned by family with little support.

Curiously, this means that expanding gay rights in the Mid-East is an effective way to combat terrorism; if families stop disowning their gay children, and society stops shunning people for being gay, those people would be less likely to join a death cult...

Do you have a source for this? Out of all the terrorism prisoners captured alive, how many of them were homosexuals/closeted? Did any former radicals ever come out or discussed it?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:35 am UTC
by CorruptUser
That a significant number of terrorists are gay, or that most aren't from religious backgrounds?

Can't provide empirical evidence for gays in Al Qaeda (good luck collecting THAT), only logic; Al Qaeda is a cult, people who are outcasts are more likely to join cults, gay people are more likely to be outcast from their families than straight people, therefore a higher than expected percentage of Al Qaeda is gay.

Oh, and the occasional confession; Here is an interesting read for you. Not sure if the Express is a reliable source, but here it is claiming that the repression of homosexuality causes people to join ISIS, though weasel words like "some experts" make me a tad suspicious. Then there's the Orlando murderer. And rumors about Arafat. Etc...

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:52 pm UTC
by Zohar
CorruptUser wrote:Can't provide empirical evidence for gays in Al Qaeda (good luck collecting THAT), only logic; Al Qaeda is a cult, people who are outcasts are more likely to join cults, gay people are more likely to be outcast from their families than straight people, therefore a higher than expected percentage of Al Qaeda is gay.

Doesn't the same convoluted logic imply Al Qaeda also has a higher-than-expected percentage of Jews, disabled people, red-heads, neuro atypical people, transgender people, asexuals, black people, people with blue eyes, and women?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:16 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Muslims only, but there are Redhead and Black Jihadis. And since when does having blue eyes get you outcast from society? You are clearly being obtuse here.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:25 pm UTC
by Zohar
Right, sure.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:49 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
I'm sorry that I offended you by claiming that oppression of gay people fuels further violence in the world and further offending you by claiming that a lot of terrorists are gay. I'm sorry I called you gay, terrorists. I know how that if a lot of people are convinced that you have gay members, you might have trouble presenting yourself as the "guardians" of your religion and would thus be unable to recruit more gullible victims to your cause. I'm sorry it might cause people to pity rather than fear you.

/sarcasm

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:20 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
CorruptUser wrote:Al Qaeda is a cult, people who are outcasts are more likely to join cults, gay people are more likely to be outcast from their families than straight people, therefore a higher than expected percentage of Al Qaeda is gay.


I have a 4 problems with this logic;
1: Creating a rigorous definition of 'cult' and 'outcast' is surprisingly hard.
2: Groups referred to as cults tend to be isolationistic, and practice thought reform; a major goal of Al Qaeda is the acquisition of land and, to my knowledge, Al Qaeda does not practice thought reform.
3: [Iff a person is outcast by their family, then they are outcast by their society] <= That statement is false.
4: People who are gay can join cults besides Al Qaeda.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:24 pm UTC
by Zohar
I do not need apologies from you, sarcasm-filled or otherwise. My problem is you making statements that are only based on your opinions as facts, and not really considering the ramifications of your logic to its logical conclusion.

There's a difference between saying "I wouldn't be surprised if there are more closeted gay people in terrorist organizations because <X>" and saying "If people didn't disown gay people they wouldn't become terrorists" (which, I hope you'll agree, implies that gay people become terrorists as a social phenomenon of unusual proportions). Also, while the blue eyes comment was obviously a joke, you didn't really explain how come Al Qaeda doesn't attract other minorities.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:32 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Alright, it's a conjecture with some circumstantial and weak supporting evidence. Criticism accepted.

Would it be ok to say "I have a strong suspicion that..." instead?

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:12 pm UTC
by Zohar
I think so, but it's important to remember that distinction and not to treat that as true. To be clear, I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are some people for whom this story is true, but I have no idea if that's a social issue or just a few cases.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:52 pm UTC
by Flayer
First, I will say a bit about who I am: a secular Dutch person who might be attributed with having "anarchist" or "anti-fascist" beliefs as part of their personality. One might also describe me as a "rebel against (perceived) oppression". Now, considering I live in the Netherlands, I have very little to rebel against. One thing I dislike, for example, is the fact that over here we can get fined for not carrying an ID in public if the police has a reason to stop us (incidentally, this is why an 80 year old Muslim man got handcuffed and treated roughly, which is a worrying prospect should Geert Wilders get significant power, but I digress...).

However, considering my "rebellious" nature here in the Netherlands, I think that if I had grown up in Syria or Iraq as a conservative Sunni Muslim, I'd probably be fighting alongside DAESH/ISIS against Assad or -- before that -- Saddam Hussein, both of whom dealt with Sunni extremism in their respective countries. The way that the Sunni rebels in Aleppo were portrayed in the western media makes me believe that this could inspire young conservative Sunnis in Europe and the United States to be more receptive towards the kind of things that are said in ISIS propaganda. All that needs to be added is a path towards finding that propaganda, which is probably not very difficult if you have a lot of Muslims friends and speak some form of Arabic.

So, I'd say (perceived) oppression is the source of terrorism. It could be oppression from dictators, or from something like liberalism that one might perceive as a threat to one's way of life in the west (I'm seeing some parallels between the conservative Salafi movement in the Middle East and the Republican movement that got Trump elected, for example -- traditional values and all that). I came to this line of thought after the Trump election and that Russian ambassador who was murdered by a self-proclaimed jidahist for what the Russians did in Aleppo to fight terrorism.

I'm labelling all that fighting stuff without government support in Syria as terrorism because I have no good overview regarding difference in the numbers between the "moderate" Ahrar/Fahir Al-Sham groups and the more hard-line terrorist Al-Nusra/ISIS groups, but considering that we have no qualms about labelling basically the whole of north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq as ISIS, I'm just extending it a teensy little bit for my own ease of mind.

I'm also largely basing my opinion regarding this Sunni stuff on this interview with a man who interrogated Saddam Hussein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk6RtNfk4h4. That, and various Sunni Muslims I've spoken with online who appear to have a great amount of sympathy for the rebels in Aleppo. Hopefully all of this makes some sense to those reading it, as I believe I am very poor at constructing a coherent line of thought in speech or text.

Re: Sources for Terrorism Beliefs

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:46 pm UTC
by elasto
Sure, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, but some aspects of modern terrorism do push that idea to breaking point: In particular the focus on killing civilians.

It's hardly unique to Islamic terrorism, but it takes a very warped worldview to find honour in the most dishonourable of tactics of targeting the most vulnerable.

(It's not unique because it's been practiced successfully as recently as the last few months in Syria by Assad/Russia, where part of the strategy to recapture cities has been to bomb all the hospitals.)