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Definite Paths to Terrorism: Main Dimensions Report

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Updated: Apr 27th, 2022

Definite paths to terrorism are pathways to Muslim radicalization. They are used by diverse governmental organizations to research on ways of curbing terrorism. However, the ignorance of these pathways has led to an exceeding rise in terrorism trends across the world (law 2009, p.10). This has led to an increasing interest to study and research on these Muslim radicalization methods, and systems. This report is composed to expound more on these systems of radicalization. In addition to this, methods of identifying these systems will also be discussed. On the other hand, challenges such as civil rights, and liberties have posed a great challenge in this research. It is a world standard that everyone should have the freedom of worship and association. This has posed a greater challenge in proving that these systems’ aim is a destruction.

Despite many scientific researches aimed at coming up with a definite meaning of the phrase radicalisation, the definite meaning of radicalisation has not been found. Radicalisation, however, can take different forms of definition in relation to our terrorism context. First, radicalization can be termed as assimilation to a certain belief which describes a new world order. This assimilation is enforced by the use of violence to instil discipline and loyalty in the participants (McCauley 1999, p.15). Radicalization can also be a pursuit which is extremely active and may be driven by a strong urge of vengeance. Two systems of Muslim radicalization have been found out. However, this does not mean that there might be no other possible systems of radicalization. These systems are ‘top-down process’ and ‘bottom-up process’.

The top-down process

This process has been used by the Danish intelligence services. It shows how an individual undergoes different stages. These stages consist of different methodologies, whereby, the participant gets deeply entrenched in the radicalization with advancement in every stage simultaneously. In the first phase, the participant is engaged in forums where a ‘radicaliser’ is introduced. A ‘radicaliser’ is a well known Muslim imam whose duty is to introduce radical ideas to the participant and show the importance of these ideas (Vertigans 2008, p.25). In the second phase, there is a behavioural change in the participant. The participant changes in religious behaviours and communication habits. In the third phase, the participant associates with the people whom they share the same ideas with. The participant also avoids family ties, and has few friends. In the fourth and final phase, the participant goes through moral and social hardening.

The bottom-up process

This system has been developed by the NYPD, and it also contains four distinct phases. In the first phase, participants are individuals who engage in ordinary jobs and most of them have no criminal history. In the second stage, participants develop a great interest in salafi Islam and a diversion from their normal life is evident since they associate themselves with like-minded individuals. The third stage is where the participant intensifies his beliefs in jihad and is even ready to engage in military action. The fourth stage involves the full acceptance of individual participation in jihad. After this, participants are organized in groups for operational planning.

There are various ways of interdicting these pathways of radicalisation. First, the authorities can monitor the well known radical imams, and limit their freedom of movement (Wieviorka 2004, p.13). Moreover, authorities can also deter places that they preach for instance prisons. On the other hand, the authorities can recommend for their dismissal or transfer them to serving in the mosque. Young individuals who show an alarming change in behaviour should be withdrawn from the society for some time and be brought back to track. The authorities should also recommend professionals such as teachers, doctors, and recreational agents to be on the look out for young individuals who have a significant change in behaviour. However, the top-up process has proven to be easily identifiable, and interdict able compared to the bottom-up process. There are other models of radicalization such as home grown terrorism. This is where terrorists are developed in the home ground where Islam religion is deeply entrenched. In the home ground model, individuals are assimilated into terrorism through jihad war training. This training involves hardening and oath taking.

In conclusion, there are other dimensions of the Islamic terrorism namely Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. However, these two dimensions are very diverse and different in their nature. Al-Qaeda is based in Afghanistan, whereas, Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. Al-Qaeda is driven by goals that are long-term and global whereas Hezbollah is regional and its major goal is defensive resistance. Al-Qaeda is born out of jihad and justifies its terror activities on the unfairness and manipulation of the western region. On the other hand, Hezbollah justifies its terror activity on equitable distribution of wealth and resources with the aim of improving the living standards of its supporters. Hezbollah’s intention in perpetrating terror is not global religious war but Al-Qaeda’s intention is to end foreign occupation, and support in the Middle East. As a result of this, Al-Qaeda even fights fellow Muslims who are not in support of this ideology. Both Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah are equally evil. This is because the activities of their activities are aimed at harming the human race with their selfless demands and actions (Zulaika 2010, p.20).


Law, R. D. (2009). Terrorism: a history. Cambridge: Polity Press.

McCauley, C. R. (1991). Terrorism research and public policy. London, England: F. Cass.

Vertigans, S. (2008). Terrorism and societies. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.

Wieviorka, M. (2004). The making of terrorism. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Zulaika, J. (2010). Terrorism: the self-fulfilling prophecy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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