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Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives [Hardcover]

Avner Falk

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Book Description

30 July 2008 0313357641 978-0313357640
This book examines the psychological root of religious extremists within the Muslim world. Independent scholar Avner Falk analyzes Islamic terror from many standpoints, including religious, cultural, historical, political, social, economic and, above all, psychological. In this book he also examines topics including infantile experience and adult terrorism, the meaning of terror, terrorists and their mothers, narcissistic rage and Islamic terror, and whether terrorists are 'normal' people, as some scholars claim. He also describes the infantile development of terrorist pathology, non-psychoanalytic theories of terrorism, globalization's effect on terrorism, and the notion of the clash of civilizations.Examining the emotional structure of traditional Muslim families, the author looks into the roots of Muslim rage, and why this can play into future terrorism development. Other topics addressed in this reader-friendly analysis include history's first Islamic terrorists, and three important cases - two recent deadly terrorists, and the last a primary figure in our current 'war on terror'.The central idea throughout the book is that a person's attitude toward terror and terrorism - as well as whether he or she becomes a terrorist or one who wages a global war on terror - has much to do with that person's own terrifying experiences in infancy and childhood. It is these early terrors, when extreme and uncontrollable, that most often produce terrorists and wars on terror, the author argues. Thus, this book focuses on the conscious, but also the irrational and unconscious, causes of terrorism. Terrorism continues to be a hot topic of global relevance. This book examines the history of Islamic terrorism; and, analyzes Islamic terror from multi-disciplinary points of view including psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, religion and Middle East/Islamic studies.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger Security International (30 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313357641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313357640
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,540,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Avner Falk is an internationally-known Israeli scholar, expert in the fields of psychohistory and political psychology. He trained as a clinical psychologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at Washington University in St. Louis.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Islamic suicide-bomber motives 15 Oct 2009
By William Garrison Jr. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author, an Israeli psychoanalyst, has done an outstanding job in detailing the many, many different ideas that psychologists and psychoanalysts have developed to explain why Islamic, fundamentalist, jihadist suicide-bomber commit their attacks. The author literally `bends over backwards' in presenting any and apparently, just about all psychoanalytical theories regarding the `motives' as to why a suicide-bomber undertakes his/her action. The author shows that psychologists are divided as to what motivates a Muslim to become a suicide-bomber (an Islamikaze). The author believes that the typical suicide-bomber martyr (a Shaheed) has an underlying, unconscious `narcissistic pathology' personality. Are they sane or irrational? It depends. It appears that any psychologist can call some world leader, or some Islamikaze, as being `narcissistic', simply because that person really likes himself. This `in love with himself' produces `delusions of grander' in trying to improve the lot of Muslims by killing others that an Islamikaze dislikes. (Narcissism can be `good' or `bad' depending upon what a person does.) While that may really explain some `over-achievers' personality, the author presents no `empirical' evidence that narcissism substantially explains Islamikaze behavior, besides referring the reader to other books he has written. But is all of this nothing more than perhaps just psyco-babble? Even if we accept the author's diagnosis: that narcissism is the `problem', the author does not explain what the `solution' is in how to entice a suicide-bomber to abort his mission and `reform.' Nonetheless, this book is well worth reading for getting an extensive understanding about the many divergent psychological ideas as to what may `nourish' an Islamikaze's conscious and unconscious behavior: is it due to a young child's hurtful weaning away from his mother or is it due to revelations from the Quran (which the author discounts)? Yes, the author discusses `shame' and the `Oedipal' conflicts of the shaheeds. Chapter contents include: Religious Terror; Terrorists and Their Mothers; Narcissistic Rage and Islamic Terror; The Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders; The [Muslim] State of Denial; A Clash of Civilizations?; The `Arab Mind'?; Fantasies of Rebirth Through Violent Death; and Suicide Murder as Unconscious Fusion with the Mother, among others. Also see: "Psychoanalysis and the Challenge of Islam" by Fethi Benslama.
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