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Author Steiner, Juliana Gibson
Title The psychology of terrorism: A case study of Osama bin Laden
book jacket
Descript 99 p
Note Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 50-05, page: 2910
Adviser: R. Nicholas Palarino
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2012
Sociologists and psychiatrists often contend that culture, religion, social and economic factors are precursors to extremist Islamic ideology. According to Robert Robins and Jerrold Post in their groundbreaking book, Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred, paranoia is the hallmark of radical thinking. Post and Robins argue political paranoia is responsible for every social disaster in history and is among the root causes for the decline of the West. This thesis will test Robins' and Post's hypothesis by conducting a case study of Osama bin Laden. Specifically, I explore significant events in bin Laden's life that drove him to cross the line from paranoia into psychopathy exhibited by his propensity to eliminate perceived enemies and his remarkable ability to manipulate others. This includes convincing a worldwide network of Muslims that the West seeks to destroy Islam
Using the work of Robins and Post to establish the foundational concept of political paranoia, along with Frances Fukuyama's theory of the end of history, and Dr. Robert Hare's notion of the psychopath, this thesis explores how these phenomena impacted bin Laden's reasoning. To accomplish this, I examine bin Laden's formative years to assess how family, religion and events in Egypt and Afghanistan shaped his thinking. The philosophy of Sayyid Qutb, ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, is highlighted to demonstrate that al Qaeda's ideology is simply a repackaging of Qutb's works to justify martyrdom as an ethical form of jihad and piety. Notably, Qutb considered America to be morally bankrupt and secular government to be an affront to Islam. This notion was adopted by bin Laden to justify his hatred of the Saudi government and the West. In conclusion, I assert bin Laden sought to turn Islam against the West to establish a new Islamic regime with himself at front and center. After the September 11 attacks, a decade of war, and an economy that cannot sustain a bloated security apparatus, the West has been forced by terrorists like bin Laden to become paranoid for good reason
School code: 0076
Host Item Masters Abstracts International 50-05
Subject Biography
Political Science, International Relations
Psychology, General
Sociology, Criminology and Penology
Alt Author Georgetown University. Liberal Studies
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