Destruction and redemption : the conduct of revealed religious violence in the contemporary era
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The final quarter of the twentieth century saw the emergence of a variety of security threats, perhaps the most pernicious and least understood of which has been the rise of religiously motivated violence and terrorism. While a great deal has been written on this phenomenon, much has been in the form of individual case studies and those more inclusive examinations which have been offered deal more with the causes of religious violence and not the underlying processes of justification and operational activity. In cases where such an approach has been attempted these have been conducted in a cursory fashion, presenting generalisations which are not necessarily valid across the entire spectrum of religious violence. The purpose of this thesis is to offer a holistic examination of violence within the three revealed religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) in order to establish common features in the conduct of violence across the faiths and to provide a framework whereby the ideological and operational processes and mechanisms can be understood collectively rather than individually. In the process, a number of commonly accepted generalisations regarding religiously motivated violence will be modified or challenged. The method chosen consists of the identification of a number of key components common to all revealed violent groups, ranging from the formation of an ideology which justifies violence to the tactics that are employed, and these key components are then used to examine the behaviour of three distinct group types. The three group types are represented by ten case studies, chosen to reflect the variety of group types that have existed and continue to exist. The objective is to present a broad framework which will enable a greater understanding of how religiously motivated violence is justified both to internal and external audiences, the manner in which this violence is expressed operationally, and the degree to which the course and trajectory of group violence may be anticipated.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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