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  • Francis_2015_Sacred

    Rights statement: Published with license by Taylor & Francis© Matthew D. M. Francis This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author have been asserted.

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Why the “sacred” is a better resource than “religion” for understanding terrorism

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/10/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Terrorism and Political Violence
Issue number5
Volume28
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)912-927
Publication statusPublished
Early online date22/01/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The popular media and many in academia often overstate the role that religion, and its supposedly unique qualities, has played in recent acts of terror. In this article, I argue that the notion of religious violence is unhelpful and that there is a more useful concept that we can utilize to draw out the values and ideas that play a role in the move to violence in both religious and secular groups. From a series of case studies on religious and non-religious groups, I have drawn out an alternative framework for investigating and learning from the role that beliefs play in motivations and justifications for terrorism. This framework uses the concept of non-negotiable (or “sacred”) beliefs. It is as applicable to secular as it is to religious groups, and can show us much more about how such beliefs can contribute to violence.

Bibliographic note

Published with license by Taylor & Francis© Matthew D. M. Francis This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author have been asserted.