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Review of From the Terrorists' Point of View
Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (2006)
  • Freddy A. Paniagua, University of Texas Medical Branch
Counterterrorism (e.g., military forces) and antiterrorism (e.g., theological dialogues) programs are the most common strategies in the prevention and potential elimination of terrorism. Professor Fathali M. Moghaddam's From the Terrorists' Point of View represents a shift in current thinking because it competes with the today's counterterrorism-antiterrorism paradigm. The core message the author sends to the national and international intelligence community is this: If you all want to end terrorism, you all should first ``see the world from the terrorists' point of view." In the terrorists' world, their terrorist acts are morally justified and rational; and although they engage in terrorism, they also deeply care for the welfare of Islamic communities. From the Terrorists' Point of View also suggests an alternative explanation for the origin of terrorism across all cultures that is based on the author's ``staircase to terrorism" metaphor. Using this metaphor, an individual moves from the ground floor to subsequent floors until he/she realizes at the top floor (fifth) of the staircase the only option is terrorism to end the injustices of the social system that individual has experienced for many years. This review suggests that, although political and Islamic fundamentalist terrorists might share the same feeling of injustices on the ground floor and on subsequent floors, this metaphor appears to be more applicable to the development of political terrorism, relative to the origin of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. It also suggests that the cultural identity crisis in Islamic communities (also discussed by the author) appears to be a more convincing approach to explain the development of this form of terrorism. The controversial nature of the author's thesis is what will make From the Terrorists' Point of View an interesting book.
  • staircase to terrorism,
  • terrorists' point of view,
  • Islamic fundamentalist terrorism,
  • political terrorism,
  • counterterrorism-antiterrorism paradigm
Publication Date
December, 2006
Citation Information
Freddy A. Paniagua. "Review of From the Terrorists' Point of View" Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Vol. 3 Iss. 4 (2006)
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