Topic: Religion and Mythology / Religion (General)

Understanding and Addressing Suicide Attacks
The Faith and Politics of Martyrdom Operations
David Cook, Olivia Allison

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David Cook, Olivia Allison

Understanding and Addressing Suicide Attacks

The Faith and Politics of Martyrdom Operations

David Cook, Olivia Allison David Cook, Olivia Allison

May 2007


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Provides readers with a better understanding of the underlying religious and historical basis for Muslim suicide attacks and makes recommendations for dealing with them when and where they occur.

During the past several years, Americans have witnessed the frequent occurrence of suicide attacks by radical Muslim groups. The public has wondered what drives someone to kill himself specifically in order to wreak havoc and destruction. While other works address the subject, many entirely ignore the ideological, religious, and cultural appeal of suicide attacks, and none can adequately speak to why certain groups choose to use suicide as a weapon while others do not. Beginning with a careful consideration of the religious and historical reasons, and the justifications that perpetrators find therein, for suicide operations, the authors reveal how radical groups have co-opted various aspects of their faith to provide fuel for their current activities.

Established policy makers seem helpless to confront this destructive terrorist activity, often implying that countermeasures are ineffective and seeming to say we will just have to wait out the phenomenon. Even such a well-documented policy report as the 9/11 Commission's report failed to address the root of suicide attacks, only critiquing technical aspects of the U.S. security system. Focusing on specific attacks, their roots, their perpetrators, and their outcomes, the authors are able to shed light on this resurgence of radical religious forces that encourage the use of such tactics, and to propose new initiatives and approaches to handling such attacks before and after they occur.
"For Cook and Allison, the religious justifications that are deployed in support of Islamic suicide terrorism are both a key causal factor and perhaps the tactic's single greatest weakness. The urge policy makers to focus more on the religious angle and encourage Islamic political and religious leaders to condemn suicide attacks as a comprehensive genre as well as to engage in sustained religio-ideological discussion about the justness of suicide attacks. They also provide an examination of how groups that employ suicide bombing engage in media operations and consider types of counter-operations."—Reference & Research Book News