Root Causes of Suicide Terrorism : The Globalization of Martyrdom book cover
1st Edition

Root Causes of Suicide Terrorism
The Globalization of Martyrdom

Edited By

Ami Pedahzur

ISBN 9780415770309
Published August 1, 2006 by Routledge
224 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $49.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This highly topical new study clearly shows how there are at least two reasons to question the central role that is assigned to religion, in particular Islam, when explaining suicide terrorism.

  • suicide terrorism is a modern phenomenon, yet Islam is a very old religion. Except for two periods in the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, suicide was never part of Islamist beliefs and behaviours. Actually, Islam clearly forbids suicide, hence, the argument that Islamic religious beliefs are the main cause of suicide terrorism is inherently dubious
  • many suicide attacks have been carried out by secular organizations with little connection to fundamentalist Islam: Palestinian Fatah; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and the Kurdish Workers Party. Moreover, one of the organizations that has employed this strategy devastatingly and regularly is the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam). Not only are members of this organization not Muslim, most of them are not religious at all.

This superb new book contains essays by some of the world's leading scholars of terrorism and political violence. It is essential reading for students of terrorism, political science and Middle Eastern politics, and useful to students of social psychology, theology and history.  

Table of Contents

Introduction - Characteristics of Suicide Attacks Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger  1. Defining Suicide Terrorism Assaf Moghadam  2. Dying to Kill: Motivations for Suicide Terrorism Mia Bloom  3. Dying To Be Martyrs: The Symbolic Dimension of Suicide Terrorism  Mohammed M Hafez  4. The Roots of Suicide Terrorism: A Multi-Causal Approach Assaf Moghadam  5. Suicide Terrorism for Secular Causes Leonard Weinberg  6. Islam and al Qaeda Marc Sageman  7. Al-Qaeda and the Global Epidemic of Suicide Attacks Yoram Schweitzer  8. Being Bin Laden: An Applied Decision Analysis Procedure for Analyzing and Predicting Terrorists Decisions Alex Mintz, J. Tyson Chatagnier and David J. Brulé 9. Maghreb Immigrants Becoming Suicide Terrorists: A Case Study on Religious Radicalization Processes in Spain  Rogelio Alonso and Fernando Reinares  Index

View More



Ami Pedahzur is an associate professor at the department of government, University of Texas, Austin. His latest publications include: Political Parties and Terrorist Groups (with Leonard Weinberg, 2003) and The Israeli Response to Jewish Extremism and Violence – Defending Democracy (2002).


"The most up to date, informative and reliable survey of this phenomenon." - Walter Laqueur 

"This is a useful and important book on a topic that is as intellectually compelling as it is politically disturbing." - Mark Juergensmeyer