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The elements that motivate extreme terrorism or criminal activities


For some, the phenomenon of terrorism is recent, beginning with the terrorist attack of September the 11th, 2001 in lower Manhattan, New York, when two passenger planes of American Airlines hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, which caused more than 4000 innocent causalities on that same unfortunate spot. The sight of that dreading event stirred such a high level of commitment by the United Nations, headed by the United States, that within 20 days, a coalition of 43 nations began their surgical strikes on mainland Afghanistan, and on the outer skirts of Pakistan, tribal areas connecting with afghan border, from where Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban head Mullah Omar were based and were posting online videos in affirmation of the attack`s responsibility to their group`s credit.

But this fanfare beginning of Islamic terrorism and related, ragtag groups, is more of credit to the modern-day media outlets, which gave such a massive hype to the events that, for some, especially the youngster, it became a movie-like thrilling adventure. But in reality, terrorism, crime, and other hegemonic acts are “a desire to be dominant” over others, which is an embedded human inclination., This has not always been pursued by individuals only, but by empires and states, and even states within states have used, and are using to this day, exceptionally violent measures to tighten their grips.

In the following discussion, the elements which do motivate these hardcore terror or criminal organizations to do what they are known for doing will be elaborated on. How can the knowledge of previous events help stop further incidents? And what is the difference between crimes related to terrorism and other domestic crimes like homicide, rape, etc?


Motivation to do extreme

As per the history of terrorism and violent acts, it would inevitably find traces in some authentic reason, or it should rather be said, motivations behind each act. Religion by far has been the driving force for most of such events, may it be The Sicarii (Modern Hebrew), who are Jewish warriors who were opposed to the Roman occupation of Jerusalem in the 7th century C.E, considered them unholy, and had caused massive unrest for the settling Romans by their cloak, dagger and hit and run tactics.

Similarly, secular revolutionary movements like the French Revolution of the second half of the 17th century liquidated hundreds of thousands of their own citizens, who were opposed to the policies and ideas of the revolutionary council. Mass public extrajudicial killings on guillotines, and dragging behind the carts in the street to disfigure the corpse were the imposing tactics of the day. Russian Bolshevik revolution of the early 19th century and the present-day Middle Eastern civilian uprising of Syria, Egypt, and Libya surpassed all the previous records of cruelty and homicides of the past(“Terrorism and Crime_UPENN_9_19_2012.pdf,” n.d.).


Since the gruesome event of September the 11th 2001, Al-Qaida by far has proved itself as one of the most advanced and audacious terrors and criminal networks around the globe. It has always proved its tactical reaches to be one step ahead of the intelligence networks of the entire world.

One research study by Bruce Hoffman, a specialist researcher on terrorism and Al-Qaida, states that each country on each continent has a few or more consortiums of Al-Qaida network, waiting for orders and plans to execute. Hoffman gave a detailed list of around 90 countries, where the network`s leadership, stationed in tribal areas of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border area, can wreak their killing havoc at their disposal. But what is most strange and amazing about Al-Qaida and other suicidal groups like the Islamic State of Syria and the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, is their commitment level.

The pilots, who were flying the passenger plans on September 11th were all highly educated with Western university degrees to their credits, they were financially well to do due to their family backgrounds, and had exposure to international communities and cultures since the early parts of their youths, because of them were international students.

Then what motivated or disheartened them to become the most despicably discussed people on planet Earth, why end their lives from the front and cause that day`s mayhem?

It is believed that Al-Qaida has the best physical as well as psychological training tactics, the world of intelligence has ever seen or known about it. They use the religious text, twisting and turning it around, completely out of context, to convince the practicing Muslims to strike for the sake of God, heaven, and for the honor of sisters and brothers of their downtrodden nation.

Along with the fact that their instructors are high-profile experts in changing and persuading their listeners to take the utmost steps, there is a bleak reality of the oppression of the Muslim populace in countries like Iraq, Burma, china, Dagestan, Kashmir, Israel, and so on, keep naming names, and more would come up! the unjust subjugation and humiliation of these folks cause automatic resentment for organizations like Al-Qaida to open their door for a generous influx of committed warriors, a few looking to revenge the blood of their own, and honor lost in front of their eyes by the occupying armies, and many to join the justified cause of liberating their lands from oppressors.

Whatever and however they use religion, its text, and the ruined emotions to brainwash people to the extent of scarifying their very own lives, and causing death and despair where they attack, their ways and ploys have proved to be unstoppable around the world, and at the top of it, it is ever increasing by every passing day.

Efforts to counter terrorist strategies

On paper, there have always been tireless efforts to curb, counter, or at least reduce the scale of terrorism around the world, but according to the statistics, instead of reducing, the radio of violent terrorist attacks is increasing around the globe, why?

Are we lacking the technological advancement, which these terrorist organizations have a grip on, or are we so sluggish and heedless that we simply don’t care about upcoming trauma? No, neither are we incompetent not to at least learn and guess what is coming next, nor is any human being brave enough to overlook impending death. The problem lies with the official policies based on double standards and material gains. E.g., what had Libya got to do with terrorism? That U.N warplanes hit its civilian population, jumping into internal civil war, to plunder the natural resources of the nation, and adding more human resources into the account of such networks by killing innocent masses, and arming anti-government mercenaries and criminals to kill as many as they feel like to (“Terrorism and Crime Studies (Federal Research Division: Customized Research and Analytical Services, Library of Congress),” n.d.).

So justice among the nations, equality among people, and mutual respect for every religion would only be the right way to discourage and counter-terror strategies these groups, who are watchfully waiting for people after every unjust incident around the world, to exploit and use them for their plans,   who for now have got every justification to proceed with their brainwashing agenda with naïve masses.

Difference between criminals and terrorist

Well, to be honest, there isn’t much difference between the two, the matter of fact is that both are bad and unacceptable, but yes there is a difference between the level of commitment, and height of motivation between the two, e.g. A criminal commits a crime primarily because of his delinquent lifestyle and nature, delinquency and habits related to it ask for money, and there when you get involved in acts to robbery, theft, and abductions, but while you perpetrating these criminal acts, you are well aware that failure in success means ending up in sound thrash about people around and ending up in jail for some fair amount of time, so what a criminal does is, that to avoid lesser danger, he ends up committing bigger crimes, liking killing someone while robing or raping, etc. So the majority of criminals commit crimes either because of necessity or need, or out of uncontrolled moments, but they don’t plan to hit big, as long as they are not habitual criminals, working for some gangs like MS-13 or other drug mafias.

Terrorists plan and wish for maximum damage, and the highest of pain-spreading situations, since it does not matter to them what happens after they are dead and gone from this world. Money cannot buy anyone for any reason, unlike criminals, to sacrifice his or their life, since there is no point in having money if you are dead.


As it has been discussed in detail terrorism and criminal behaviors are two completely different phenomena, mostly committed by a completely different set of minds, and result in different effects on society at large. It’s terrorism and its related activities that need more consideration to resolve. Criminal acts are just a matter of a week in the justice system if crime penalties are severe. In due time, the ratio of such domestic crimes would decrease, provided that everyone had equal economic opportunities.


Law enforcement agencies should follow simple steps to avoid unrest and loss of life.

  • There should be international organizational task forces to maintain timely liaison with intelligence networks around the globe.
  • Encourage whistle-blowing among the general masses to train them to avoid incidents with due vigilance.
  • Focus on prevention, rather than snubbing or choking for the time being.


Fuller, J. (2011). Think criminology. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Terrorism and Crime Studies (Federal Research Division: Customized Research and Analytical Services, Library of Congress). (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2018, from

Terrorism and Crime_UPENN_9_19_2012.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from



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