Belief, attitudes and ideology

Ideology, beliefs and attitudes are generally cited as reasons for terrorist attacks and suicide terrorism (Kruglanski et al., 2009).

They are sometimes also called the ‘emotional fuel’ for extremist violence, providing the justification for the use of violence to achieve the desired goals.

Ideology is the most frequently cited reason for terrorist attacks and suicide attacks in video messages left behind by so-called martyrs to describe their motives (Kruglanski et al., 2009).

Gill (2015) conducted a study on lone actor terrorists and found that 79 percent of the cases, people around the perpetrator recognized that the future attacker was devoted to an extreme ideology.

BA1 Commitment to ideology that justifies violence is often a reason for terrorist attacks and suicide terrorism, also in lone actors (Kruglanski et al., 2009; Gill, 2015). The commitment is worrisome if the individual justifies the use of violence, regardless of constraints and conditions.

BA2 Perceived grievances and/or perceived injustice are an important element in the risk assessment of terrorism (Monahan, 2011; Borum, 2015).

BA3 Dehumanization of designated targets associated with injustice: Denial of human qualities of potential human targets can result in a total lack of identification with victims and reduced moral inhibition to refrain from the use of violence (Bandura, 1990, 1999, 2016; Lieber et al., 2010).

BA4 Rejection of democratic society and values is often cited as motivation for violent actions and declarations by militant extremists and terrorist groups all over the world.

BA5 Expressed emotions in response to perceived injustice: Anger and hate are the most powerful emotions associated with violent extremism and terrorism (Smith, 2015,Vidino, 2016).

BA6 Hostility to national identity: Group loyalty or a ‘politicized collective identity’ can lead to hostility towards national collective identity (Borum, 2015).

BA7 Lack of empathy and understanding for those outside one’s own group and empathy for one’s own group and attaching value to group membership is a motivating factor for terrorism (Sageman, 2004, 2008; Post, 2005). Low emotional or cognitive empathy might be an affective disinhibiting factor to violent extremism (Borum, 2015).