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Terrorism is the clandestine use of violence against civilians for ideological purposes. Because the term is pejorative, its precise definition and application are contested. Disenfranchised groups employ terrorism to exert disproportionate influence by using violence in a manner that challenges prevailing social conventions. In doing so, these groups expect to elicit panic, outrage, or sympathy in their audiences.

The Role of Religion

Religion and terrorism have a longstanding relationship. As David Rapoport has shown, some of the earliest terrorist movements on record were motivated by religion: the Jewish Zealots (1st century CE), the Muslim Assassins (11th through the 13th century), and the Hindu Thugs (13th through the 19th century). The proliferation of terrorist movements motivated by anarchist, nationalist, or left-wing goals starting in the 19th century gradually ...

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