Scholars in the News

Senior Fellow Marc Sageman Quoted in the Huffington Post on Terrorist Violence

The Huffington Post

This week’s Courrier International presents, on its front page, the “Anatomy of Terror, what makes people become terrorists?” based on a New Scientist report on the motivation of people to join terrorist groups. The true roots of ISIS, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram…. -inspired terror groups, can be found, according to Marc Sageman, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Center for the Study of Terrorism, in something much more deeper than ideological and religious motivations, and/or personality disorders ( he interviewed 172 jihadist terrorists in jail and carried out various psychological studies on them- the results are extensively shown in his 2004 book Understanding Terror Networks).

The issue to be careful stands in the notion of normality. “People who commit terrorist acts are usually embedded in a network of familial and friendship ties with allegiance to a closed group, be that tribal, cultural, national, religious or political” continues New Scientist “historically, the conditions for the murder of innocents by terrorism or genocide have occurred when one group fears extinction by another group. Ordinary people are motivated to “kill by category” through their own group identity.

Read the full article here.