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We have defined terrorism here as “acts of
violence intentionally perpetrated on civilian non-combatants with the goal of
furthering some ideological, religious or political objective.” Our principal
focus is on non-state actors. Our task was to identify and analyse the
scientific and professional social science literature pertaining to the
psychological and/or behavioural dimensions of terrorist behaviour (not on
victimization or effects). Our objectives were to explore what questions
pertaining to terrorist groups and behaviour had been asked by social science
researchers; to identify the main findings from that research; and attempt to
di still and summarize them within a framework of operationally relevant

international panel of leading experts on terrorism met in Oslo to discuss root
causes of terrorism. The main purpose was to provide inputs from the research
community to a high-level conference on “Fighting Terrorism for Humanity” to be
held in New York on 22 September 2003. The findings described below are
conclusions drawn by the chairman on the basis of presentations and
discussions. -A main accomplishment of the expert panel was to invalidate
several widely held ideas about what causes terrorism. There was broad
agreement that there is only a weak and indirect relationship between poverty
and terrorism. At the individual level, terrorists are generally not drawn from
the poorest segments of their societies. Typically, they are at average or
over-average levels in terms of education and socio-economic background. Poor
people are more likely to take part in simpler forms of political violence than
terrorism, such as riots. The level of terrorism is not particularly high in
the poorest countries of the world.
 State sponsorship is not a root cause
of terrorism. Used as an instrument in their foreign policies, some states have
capitalized on pre-existing terrorist groups rather than creating them.
Terrorist groups have often been the initiators of these relationships, at
times courting several potential state sponsors in order to enhance their own
independence. State sponsorship is clearly an enabling factor of terrorism,
giving terrorist groups a far greater capacity and lethality than they would
have had on their own.
Definitions of terrorism are usually complex
and controversial, and, because of the inherent ferocity and violence of
terrorism, the term in its popular usage has developed an intense stigma. It
was first coined in the 1790s to refer to the terror used during the French
Revolution by the revolutionaries against their opponents. The
Jacobin party of Maximilien
Robespierre carried out a 
of Terror
 involving mass
executions by the guillotine
Although terrorism in this usage implies an act
of violence by a state against its domestic enemies, since the 20th century the
term has been applied most frequently to violence aimed, either directly or
indirectly, at governments in an effort to influence policy or topple an
existing regime.
Terrorism involves the use or threat of violence and seeks to
create fear, not just within the direct victims but among a wide audience.

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