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What Is a Terrorist?

Being called a terrorist is one of the most serious charges that can be laid against someone nowadays. A terrorist aims to terrorize, harass and frighten innocent people and by extension, those in positions of power.

Terrorists justify their actions by claiming that they are working for a higher aim. The most common terrorists are religious idealists. However, other terrorists exist who are motivated by extreme political or environmental notions, even some terrorists are motivated by animal rights as a cause. For a terrorist, the ends justify the means. They are often sincere and believe in the rightness of their actions, assuming that the destruction of property and death of innocent people is mere collateral damage. They do not call themselves terrorists, but see themselves as freedom fighters, soldiers of justice or rebels.

Surprisingly, but at the same time somewhat confusing, most people would agree with a terrorists beliefs and motivations, it is just that few people act upon it in such a destructive manner which affects innocent people. Most terrorist goals are quite laudable: who would not favor environmental accountability, religious freedom, ethical treatment of animals and honesty in politics? These are all worthwhile goals.

Terrorist attacks that shook the world include the 11 September 2001 attack on New York City where innocent people and even their rescuers were killed. The 2005 London Underground attack is also another example. Northern Ireland is still recovering from the terrorist acts of the IRA and the Protestant paramilitary. Israel and Palestine continue with terrorist attacks against each other.

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