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Despite Islam's Opposition to Terrorism, What Are the Motivations, Methods and Goals of Recruiters and Recruits to Join Terrorist Groups?


1. Introduction

1.1. Research Aim

1.2. Research Question

1.3. Research Objectives

2. Background

2.1. Understanding Terrorism

2.2. Motivational Factors

2.2.1. Loneliness

2.2.2. The Misconception of Jihad

2.2.3. Revenge

2.2.4. Recognition

2.2.5. Poverty

2.3. Methods of Recruitment

2.3.1. Social Networks and Permissive Family

2.3.2. Self-Recruitment or Role of Internet

2.3.3. Strategic Targeting

2.4. Goals of the Recruiters

3. Significance of Research

4. Research Methodology

4.1. Research Design

4.2. Data Collection

4.3. Limitations

4.4. Ethical Issues

5. Gantt Chart

6. References

1. Introduction to Islam and Terrorism

It has been stated in the Quran that Islam is the universal religion and a religion of mercy to all living beings. Islam is regarded as the religion of peace. Concerning universal faith which is subjected to diverse interpretations, a living manifestation of qualities is offered by Islam that can be related by all human beings such as compassion, love, and mercy. To bear the label “Muslim” is no assurance of living by its lessons and philosophies as Muslims are not a homogenous entity (Praja, 2006). Serious risks take place from knowing and believing that they are.

Islam is considered to be a system of theology and a complete civilization. Islamic universality has been proved by the classical history of Islam that the religion rejects any kind of discrimination and teaches people to disband within the land and ask for the bounty of God. Moreover, the presence of Islam has a contribution to the prosperity and welfare of the people. However, the lack of knowledge and deeper misapprehension of Islam has led many to consider that war n terrorism is equivalent to the war on Islam. This is the reason the majority of Europeans and Americans consider Muslims as foreign, strange, and frightening and inexorably associated with the headlines of the events related to a terrorist.

However, in recent decades, besides conventional Islamic political opposition, the groups of terrorists have augmented up to a level wherein they could confront the regime and terrify the population along with attacking the foreign interests. Terrorism has numerous faces and may hide under the name of philosophy, politics or religion, or any other.

1.1. Research Aim

This report is going to address the various motivational factors that attract Muslims towards terrorism even though Islam is strictly against it. It will also address various recruitments methods as well as the goals of recruiters and recruits for joining the terrorist group.

1.2. Research Question

The research question for the study is;

Despite Islam’s opposition to terrorism, what are the motivations, methods, and goals of recruiters and recruits to join the terrorist group?

1.3. Research Objectives

· To analyze the factors contributing to the motivation of recruitment in terrorist groups

· To criticize or analyze the steps involved in the recruitment process of terrorist groups

· To understand the end goals of the recruiters of terrorist groups

2. Background of Islam and Terrorism

2.1. Understanding Terrorism

An attempt is taken by the international terrorists in sending a religious or ideological message by creating terror in the general public when they fail to accomplish their impractical goals by any conformist means. As per the social science scholars author, terrorist action can be regarded as the premeditated use of shocking, unexpected and unlawful hostility against non-combatants that mainly include security personnel, off-duty military and civilians in peaceful situations along with various other symbolic targets committed by an undercover member of any sub-national group to publicize a religious or political cause if intimidating a government or the civilian population within the accommodating demands in the interests of the cause (Larsen, 2017).

2.2. Motivational Factors

Young individuals can serve as one of the essential sources that support terrorist groups. Strategically proven, these terrorist groups can indicate both the brutality as well as resolve to win by exploiting youth across the world in the attacks. The author noted that youth are considered to be better while evading security serving as a strategic advantage. With time, recruiting young individuals into the armed groups can result in the underpinning of future conflicts which is about planting seeds of hatred for future generations (Tunnell, 2014). Some of the major factors that motivate individuals to enter the world of terrorism have been described in this paper.

2.2.1. Loneliness

Venhaus (2010) described in his report a person named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who has been regarded as “underwear bomber” who had once written in an online forum that he had to no one to consult or speak with and that there was no one to support him and therefore he felt lonely and depressed. The sentiments of such youth like Abdulmutallab can be looked upon as a typically isolated youth for whom the terrorist groups are waiting and welcoming. For youths, terrorist groups are the direct paths for the satisfaction of their needs with the provision of explicit narrative appealing to their corners. To defeat the terrorist groups, it is highly significant to understand the individuals who show their interest in joining such groups and why and also what makes such terrorist groups appealing to them.

2.2.2. Misconception of Jihad

Islam, like any other religion, does not support or require illegitimate violence. The holy book Quran also does not condone or advocate terrorism. Moreover, the verses of the Quran accentuates that warfare and peace are the basic norms of the religion. Misinterpretation and misconception of jihad according to the command of the Quran, is referred to as the root of terrorism in the community of Muslims (Praja, 2006). Jihad in broader aspects can be understood as the struggle pertaining to the challenges and complications of leading a comfortable and good life, to fight against the malevolence in oneself- to be moral and virtuous, making severe efforts in doing good and moral works along with bringing reformation in the society. Jihad can also be understood as struggling or fighting oppression and injustice, spreading Islam, defending Islam, and establishing a just and appropriate society through teaching and preaching and if required, holy war or armed struggle.

2.2.3. Revenge

Kritina and Yoo (2016), when an individual starts perceiving himself as a victim within a society and believes that any external force is the cause of his unhappiness and has made it difficult for him to succeed in his life. To be precise, that individual is oblivious about the reason behind his frustration and the blaze of anger further fuels up by any figure related to minor slights beginning from the school rivalry to any rejection, until the individual is filled with rage and frustration. Numerous studies have shown that the reason for the youth to join any terrorist group was to punish or reprimand the West due to attacks Muslims had to suffer because of it. Moreover, individuals angry with the family members or being involved in disputes with the neighbourhood can also motivate them to get interested in joining a terrorist group like ISIS or al-Qaeda.

2.2.4. Recognition

Individuals looking for recognition or status seekers have a feeling of not getting appreciated as perceived by him. This frustration of the individual takes place due to unrealized expectations of getting success in his community or home. This circumstance could be seen among immigrants searching for work and international students looking for assimilation in a foreign country. Such individuals are usually not given respect when they depart from their home countries (Nacev and Bogatinov, 2018). The young individuals are grown up in a society where respect and personal are regarded as the hallmarks and thus they begin to believe that they must do something so the world could see their worth.

2.2.5. Poverty

Numerous political and academics leaders have come with their views in connection with terrorism and poverty and that both are related to each other. Jager (2018) provided evidence in his study that in the year 2002 a report was released by the UN in which both the phenomena have been unequivocally linked. In his paper, the author also mentioned that the former US President George W. Bush claimed that poverty is the main cause of terrorism. The author further mentioned that the adolescents of Somalis join the terrorist groups, not because of religious beliefs or identification with an ideology but to get the chance of earning money.

2.3. Methods of Recruitment

The understanding related to the individuals entering into the brutal radical groups must inform the approaches for countering as well as preventing the involvement of these individuals into the act of terrorism. Gates and Podder (2015) stated that numerous youths are recruited by the compassionate family members while some are led to think and believe that the association or membership would be advantageous in defending their communities or families. On the other hand, some of the individuals are trafficked, kidnapped, duped, or forcibly recruited. The author believed that the forced recruitment of individuals when they are young through outright violence or kidnapping is not a new method. In the year 1987, more than 20,000 children were kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

The extremist group such as Al-Qaeda which is more than an organization tends to recruit those individuals who are living in the highly charged environment of media and is searching for direction and guidance. Such people have unfulfilled needs and desires to portray themselves, which is offered by such terrorist groups to fill. Moreover, the willingness of the individuals, especially youths to run away from their homeland lead in making them diverse in their motivation as well as uniquely dangerous to the world (Benavides et al., 2016)

2.3.1. Social Networks and Permissive Family

Kruglanski and Fishman (2009) mentioned in their study that a frequent source of joining any group of the terrorist is through the mechanism of networking or introduction. They further added that there can be possibilities wherein the individual having a relationship with a friend, family member, or any romantic partner and for him to belong to a terrorist group may constitute a vital and core part of social identity. Therefore, relationship with friends or any other associated with the experience of terrorism can lead to a motivational push for also buying into the ideology of terrorism-justifying and to get engaged with these terrorist groups.

Darden (2019) stated in the paper that the extremists' groups have various channels through which they recruit that mainly involve selective and open methods. The author further illustrated that a selective method of recruitment takes place through peers or family networks. It was founded by the United Nations Development Programme that in a survey the most violent terrorists of Africa were welcomed by the group by their friends (Darden, 2019).

Family bonding to terrorists has been usually overlooked. Even though there are limited analyses made to understand the existence of family bonding to violent extremism, various researches show that several youth members in the armed groups had a minimum of one parent as a member of the extremist group in Mali. The weak structure of the family can result in making the youth more susceptible to the recruitment of terrorists.

2.3.2. Self-Recruitment or Role of Internet

Self-recruitment is considered to be the most significant source of “top-down” recruitment in relation to modern Islamic terrorism through the internet. Saad & Alhumaid (2018) believed that the internet has a vital role in the process of self-recruitment and radicalization in the groups of terrorists. Various videos on different websites can be found targeting "soft spots" of potential recruits which results in inflaming their imagination. The technology has become so advanced that it has become quite easier to spread information, news, articles, and various other messages on the internet. The role of media cannot be ignored in spreading terrorism as one of the causes of it.

2.3.3. Strategic Targeting

The groups of terrorists attentively select those individuals who are usually vulnerable to radicalization and then their vulnerabilities are exploited for recruiting new members Otterbacher, 2016). Those susceptible to radicalization mainly include youth who are the individuals looking for some purpose and meaning in their life, who have a feeling of the sense of anger due to discrimination, injustice and inequality faced by them, who feel estranged from the society, who live in challenging circumstances, who hold responsible the West for issues prevailing in the Middle East or who holds strong religious beliefs.

Usually, the youth at the age of 25 are the key targets of these extremist groups due to their desire and impressionability to search for a place in the world and this simply means that these individuals can easily be persuaded by the message of the group.

2.4. Goals of the Recruiters

Terrorism indulges the use or threat of hostility and thereby creating fear not only in the direct victims but also to a larger audience. It can be said that the goal or motivation of the recruiters of these terrorist recruiters is related to the mission for personal meaning as well as significance. Moreover, the quests for social and emotional support by those Muslims who have been alienated tend to create terrorist cells (Berntzen & Sandberg, 2014). Some of the major goals for recruiting individuals in the world of terrorism may include honour, social status, pain, and personal loss, revenge, group pressure, vengeance, humiliation, and injustice, or personal significance. These recruiters have the desire for revenge, a sense of obligation for the victims, and resentment.

One of the key purposes of terrorism is the exploitation of media for accomplishing a higher level of publicity. Apart from this, the individuals voluntarily join the world of terrorism based on different motivational factors that may include; in search of group-based identity, ideological appeal, long-term economic stability, glory, fame and respect; and personal connections.

Moreover, the terrorist groups have the goal of targeting those individuals who in their life face economic and social inequality because of religion or race and hence become vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups such as Islamic State. Frustration and anger due to this inequality and discrimination often take the shape of revenge and thereby becoming one of the motives for the terrorist groups. Furthermore, the radicalization of individuals is also due to circumstances such as poor home environment, poverty, or unemployment. Therefore, the terrorist groups tend to provide a better living condition to the individuals with the provision of employment, money, status, and various other opportunities.

3. Significance of Research on Islam and Terrorism

The project provides information gathered from different research materials that have been earlier published by some scholarly writers in the form of reports, books, and journals. The documents are made available by the websites and libraries and the data is gathered through already filled questionnaires by the method of surveys. The project would be cost-effective as it would make use of existing data as compared to the primary process which is the first-hand data and is expensive. The project will help in the future as it contains some of the basic and interesting facts related to the topic that might not have been explored before by any other researcher. The entire project is the accumulation of various journals and books that could be helpful for the reader to attain tremendous information that he might not have discovered before this.

4. Research Methodology on Islam and Terrorism

A research methodology can be regarded as the research design which is used by the scholars or researchers as a guide required to be followed for the successful completion of the study (Sileyew, 2019). It is generally a path that dictates the issues and objectives based on the research question formulated along with the findings gained with the help of different tools of data collection and studied over a particular period. The research methodology is one of the significant portions of a research proposal because it establishes a tone for the research to be carried out and also organizes the researcher within the relevant areas.

This report uses the data gathered from various scholarly written articles and books. The information was collected via secondary research written by the profound writers who have provided incredible insights on the topic.

4.1. Research Design

An appropriate research design helps the researcher to examine and evaluate the various variables that are concerned with the research question (Shoonenboom & Johnson, 2017). There are majorly three kinds of research designs, descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory. The research project would use descriptive and explanatory research design as there is enough literature available on the appointed topic for research.

4.2. Data Collection

Data collection is the method of accumulating relevant and desirable information in relation to the research (Daniel, 2016). For gathering data successfully, the research constitutes two types of data, primary as well as secondary. The primary data is the first-hand data that the researcher collects through different tools. As there are no previous records primary data can as regarded as first-hand data whereas secondary data is collected from the literature available in the books, journals, or online websites.

Types of Research Approach

Figure 1: Types of Research Approach

4.3. Limitations

Research limitations are the issues that could hamper the research process. There is the possibility of various unforeseen situations that may obstruct the research that mainly involves not getting enough participants if it is a primary method or unavailability of the relevant pieces of literature. One of the key limitations of the study is that it only focuses on a particular religion and not all the religions that may have also have some involvement in terrorism.

4.4. Ethical Issues

Ethics is mainly to set of rules which are either in the written or unwritten form used by an individual for governing behaviour. With the consideration of various ethical issues at the time of analysis of research, it forms a fundamental portion of the entire research. There must be a set of codes of conduct to carry out the study. Moreover, since the collection of data will be qualitative, it is utmost essential for the researcher to ensure that the sources used are relevant, reliable, and authentic.

5. Gantt Chart on Islam and Terrorism

Gantt Chart on Islam and Terrorism

6. References for Islam and Terrorism

Benavides, A. D., Keyes, L. M., & Pulley, B. (2016). Understanding the recruitment methods and socialization techniques of terror networks by comparing them to youth gangs: Similarities and divergences. Countering Terrorist Recruitment in the Context of Armed Counter-Terrorism Operations, 125, 40.

Berntzen, L. E., & Sandberg, S. (2014). The collective nature of lone-wolf terrorism: Anders Behring Breivik and the anti-Islamic social movement. Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(5), 759-779.

Daniel, E., (2016). The usefulness of qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in researching problem-solving ability in science education curriculum. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(15), 91-100.

Darden, J. T. (2019). Tackling Terrorists' Exploitation of Youth. American Enterprise Institute.

Gates, S., & Podder, S. (2015). Social media, recruitment, allegiance and the Islamic State. Perspectives on Terrorism, 9(4), 107-116.

Jager, A. (2018). Does Poverty Cause Terrorism?. Herzliya, Israel: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

Kristina, G., & Yoo, K. S. (2016). Brainwashing Techniques Used by IS Group for Member Recruiting. Asian Journal of Religion and Society, 4(1), 79-105.

Kruglanski, A. W., & Fishman, S. (2009). Psychological factors in terrorism and counterterrorism: Individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis. Social Issues and Policy Review, 3(1), 1-44.

Larsson, J. P. (2017). Understanding religious violence: Thinking outside the box on terrorism. Taylor & Francis.

Nacev, A., & Bogatinov, D. (2018). Understanding Terrorist Motivation with an Emphasis on ISIS Recruitment Methods. Understanding Terrorist Motivation with an Emphasis on Isis Recruitment Methods, 81-94.

Otterbacher, K. (2016). A new age of terrorist recruitment: Target perceptions of the Islamic State’s Dabiq Magazine. Journal of Undergraduate Research, 19(1), 1-21.

Praja, J. S. (2006). Islam, Globalization and Counter Terrorism. United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Saad, A., & Alhumaid, A. (2018, November). How terrorist groups use social networking media to attract and recruit new members. In 2018 International Conference on Innovations in Information Technology (IIT) (pp. 129-134). IEEE.

Schoonenboom, J. & Johnson, R.B. (2017). How to Construct a Mixed Methods Research DesignWie man ein Mixed Methods-Forschungs-Design konstruiert. KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 69(2),107-131.

Sileyew, K. (2019). Research design and methodology. Available at https://www.intechopen.com/online-first/research-design-and-methodology

Tunnell, S. C. (2014). Recruiting, motivating, and retaining youthful participants in terrorism: A preliminary analysis.

Venhaus, J. M. (2010). Why youth join al-Qaeda. US Institute of Peace.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Arts Assignment Help

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