Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill
Author: Jessica Stern, Former Lecturer in Public Policy; Former Faculty Affiliate, International Security Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
For four years, Jessica Stern interviewed extremist members of three religions around the world: Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Traveling extensively—to refugee camps in Lebanon, to religious schools in Pakistan, to prisons in Amman, Asqelon, and Pensacola—she discovered that the Islamic jihadi in the mountains of Pakistan and the Christian fundamentalist bomber in Oklahoma have much in common.
Based on her vast research, Stern lucidly explains how terrorist organizations are formed by opportunistic leaders who—using religion as both motivation and justification—recruit the disenfranchised. She depicts how moral fervor is transformed into sophisticated organizations that strive for money, power, and attention.
Jessica Stern’s extensive interaction with the faces behind the terror provide unprecedented insight into acts of inexplicable horror and enable her to suggest how terrorism can most effectively be countered.
A crucial book on terrorism, Terror in the Name of God is a brilliant and thought-provoking work.
Jessica Stern is a faculty affiliate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School. She is the author of The Ultimate Terrorists (Harvard University Press, 1999) and of numerous articles on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
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Document Length: 368 pp.