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Published: Ecco - August 17th, 2004
Most of us don't understand terrorism. Where does it come from? Why would someone commit suicide and kill scores of people? What is the basis for this aggression? If you've struggled with questions like these and haven't gotten sufficient answers, read Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill by Jessica Stern, who spent four years traveling the globe interviewing extremist Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Using this research, she has written an enlightening account of how terrorists arise and how organizations form to channel the resentment of the disenfranchised. Amazingly enough, she found that the most common denominator amongst terrorists was their feeling that they are responding to a spiritual calling. They believe that they are creating a more perfect world, "purifying the world of injustice, cruelty and all that is antihuman."
In addition to delving into how alienation, humiliation, demographics, history, and geography combine to create terrorist, Stern offers a cogent analysis of our reaction to terrorism so far - including questioning whether meeting violence with violence is the most effective strategy to long-term resolution. This is a refreshingly non-partisan book which makes a significant contribution to understanding our world. ~ Reviewed by Chris Morrow