chapter  4
24 Pages

Toward a Common Profile of Religious Terrorism: Some Psychosocial Determinants of Christian and Islamic Terrorists


This study contributes to the literature investigating the connections between factors leading terrorists to kill others and themselves in the name of deities. Specifically, by examining the psychosocial commonalities between representative Christian and Muslim terrorists with strong ethnoreligious identities,

Introduction 67 Theoretical Foundations for Profiling Religious Terrorists 68

Inherent Legal, Conceptual, and Theoretical Limitations 69 Probable Implications of Inherent Limitations 70 Field Applications 71 Ethnographic and Dogmatic Mandates when Profiling Religious Terrorists 72

Anthology of Observations 73 Toward Profiling Christian Religious Terrorism 73 Typology of Observations 73

Profiling Abortion Clinic Bombers 73 Backgrounds of Contemporary Christian Terrorism 75

Discussion 77 Notes 79 Appendix: Profile of Islamist Terrorists 84 References 86

this chapter offers a first step toward a common profile of this type of terrorist. It follows on previous research by Schbley (n.d.), extending his profile for Islamists to contemporary Christian extremists. Schbley’s work showed no important differences between Islamist Shi’a terrorists and Islamists living in Western Europe “when their self-reports of impulse-control, personality disorders, depression, propensity to violence, and self-immolation were compared” (n.d.).1 The central hypothesis of this chapter is that there should be essentially no difference between these extreme believers and similarly extreme Christian zealots.