Suicide bombers' motivations are studied

Jun 21, 2007

A British scientist says the view that suicide bombers are brainwashed, religious fanatics vulnerable through poverty and youth is not accurate.

University of Nottingham researcher David Stevens argues that while religion plays a central role -- there are few instances of non-religiously motivated suicide attacks -- the suicide bomber is also driven on another level by a rational thought process. That is the desire to be part of a group that engenders strength and solidarity from strictness, and encourages members to submit totally to the collective aims of the group.

"Seen in this light, suicide bombing is explicable in terms of rationally motivated actions, and not in terms of theological and/or irrational motives," said Stevens.

But, he noted, suicide bombing is very rare.

"Rare, that is, when it is remembered that extreme religious groups make up only a tiny fraction of religious groups as a whole, and 99.99 percent of those groups are, in fact, peaceable," he said.

Statistically, finding one or two people willing to make such a sacrifice is incredibly rare, he added.

"However, given the nature of suicide bombing, it only takes one or two."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Majority of homeless adults with mental illness have high rates of cognitive deficits

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

8,400+ terrorist attacks in 2012, new data shows

Dec 20, 2013

Although terrorism touched 85 countries in 2012, just three - Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan - suffered more than half of 2012's attacks (54 percent) and fatalities (58 percent), according to new data released today by the ...

Why Pakistan abandoned its Nobel laureate

Jul 30, 2012

The two-room bungalow, the birth place of Pakistan's only Nobel laureate, today stands empty, testament to the indifference, bigotry and prejudice surrounding the country's greatest scientist.

The faithless side of suicide bombing

Jun 06, 2011

Terrorist groups bend the rules of 'true' Islam to justify the use of female suicide bombers, according to Margaret Gonzalez-Perez from Southeastern Louisiana University in the US. Her paper traces the development of radical ...

MIT historian examines path of war in new book

Sep 15, 2010

"Japanese psychology," wrote Joseph Grew, the United States ambassador to Japan at the outset of World War II, is "fundamentally unlike that of any Western nation." The Japanese mentality “cannot be measured ...

Recommended for you

Appraisal of stressful or threatening situations by the brain

16 hours ago

Researchers at the Research Center Translational Neurosciences of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany have advanced a generalized concept as the basis for future studies of mental resilience. Their new approach ...

Would you tell your manager you had a mental health problem?

Jan 26, 2015

Although nearly four in 10 workers wouldn't tell their manager if they had a mental health problem, half said that if they knew about a coworker's illness, they would desire to help, a new survey by the Centre for Addiction ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.