In order to determine whether an action is a terrorist act or not, terrorism must first be defined. Terrorism is the use or threatening the use of violence as a weapon to influence a person or a group of people to change policies or influence decisions according to the terrorists desires. The terrorist can be a single person acting on personal wishes or a group of people with an ultimate goal. The goals of a terrorist are normally political, ideological, or religious in nature.
Once an action has been identified as a possible terrorist act, it now becomes necessary to further explore the reason(s) of the individual(s) behind the action. The elements that are consistent with every terrorist are motive, planning, and recognition. It is necessary to have at least all three of these elements in order to be considered a terrorist or terrorist organization. Every terrorist has a motive. Even the terrorist who can be proven as clinically insane has a motive at the root of his actions. Most generally the motive of the individual or a group is political, religious, or ideological in nature.
Keeping the three elements in mind, the following examples are provided. One group that has used terrorism in order to bring about recognition to their group is the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth). This group of Armageddonist (normally a religious group that prepares for the end of the world) used terrorist methods in order to give the illusion that the end of the world was at nigh. On 20 March 1995, Aum members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 people and injuring up to 6,000 more.
This event was carefully planned in order to achieve the goal of drawing members into the group in order to receive more money, the group required all members to donate everything they owned to the organization. This action is an example of an ideological action. The Hizballah (Party of God) is an organization that has taken actions against the United States, specifically the Marines serving at Beirut in 1983. In this incident, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck through the inadequate perimeter defenses before setting off his bomb.
The resulting explosion collapsed the building, killing hundreds. Hizballah believes that Israel is planning to take over a good portion of the Middle East from the Euphrates to the Nile as God promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21. As far as Hizballah is concerned, fighting Israels occupation is not just a national duty. It is a religious obligation that falls within their concept of jihad and they are determined to continue the fight until Lebanese soil is liberated. The Hizballah organization is an example of religious terrorists.
On September 11, 2001, terrorism became a reality to the American people. Osama bin Laden, along with al Qaeda, has risen to the infamous spot as number one on Americas Most Wanted list. The Taliban is the political organization that has been sponsoring this terrorist and providing him with a safe-haven as well. Another example that has not struck as close to home as Osama and his organization has is Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein is an Irish Political Party that in the past has turned to the organization known as the Provisional Irish Republic Army in order to encourage support for the organization.
The Taliban and Sinn Fein are both examples of political organizations that sponsor the use of terrorists. These four organizations were chosen as examples to give evidence of the definition, and proof to the content of the template. The reason that the Aum Shinri Kyo and Sinn Fein were chosen was to identify a couple of my personal interests. Aum Shinri Kyo also has a professional interest to me, due to the fact that the nerve gas was released in Japan during 1995, which was also my first year serving in Okinawa (although I was not in mainland Japan).
The Hizballah also serves as a professional interest to me, because of the car bomb that was set off at the Marine Barracks in Beirut. This action proved that no place is secured enough to guarantee the protection of service members placed in foreign nations against a terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization were chosen as the largest threat to the American people. The events of September 11, 2001 are by far the most extreme terrorist actions committed in a single attack against the American people. This action proved that no place within the United States is safe against a terrorist attack.