Conflict & Justice

What Motivates Acts of Terror?

Tamerlan-family_Crop.jpg

Photo, showing Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accompanied by his father Anzor, mother Zubeidat and uncle Muhamad Suleimanov, is seen in this photo courtesy of the Suleimanova family in Makhachkala.

Christopher Dickey, the Paris bureau chief for Newsweek, tells anchor Marco Werman why the key to understanding the minds of terrorists isn't about understanding their ethnicity, religion, or race.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

"What I want to get away from … and I think we ought to get away from in our analysis is the idea that terrorism is founded in some verse or other in the Koran, or the faith of Islam, or for that matter in the Catholic faith, or the Hindu faith," Dickey says.

"Most of the people who are actually involved in terrorist acts are not, I mean far from it, religious scholars. They tend to cherry pick the things which reinforce what they already want to do which is identify with an oppressed people, say that they are fighting for them, and project themselves on a world stage."

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