Homegrown extremism threats both in the European Union (EU) as well as the United States (U.S.) have grown since the last decade. Past and present studies along with past and current political leadership have directed their focus and funds to counter global threats of extremism and terrorism whilst ignoring homegrown extremism threats. This paper focuses on the threats posed by domestic terrorist groups or homegrown extremist groups using research data from reputable sources and compares and contrasts transactional and domestic terrorism. The paper recommends that homegrown terrorism or extremism can be reduced and subsequently eliminated by creating functional political and economic societies where equity and justice are for all to enjoy.
Comparison of homegrown and international terrorism
The concept "homegrown" emerged within not only academic but also policy-centered reports following the train bombings in 2005 Britain. However, the precise and accurate meaning of his term and its application is somewhat confusing. Academic literature focusing on terrorism reveals two common elements relating to the concept of homegrown extremist groups. The first element rests on the notion that individuals who were born and brought up in the western culture or perhaps have an intense attachment with the western culture. The second idea rests on individuals or independent local groups devoid of any international links or connections.
The accumulated literature on terrorism is mainly focused on structural conditions; for instance, social, political and financial status of a community, which instigates terrorist behavior. Research relating to terrorism has been mainly carried out on some groups in specific regions. O'Hair et al. (2007) has defined political terrorism as a growing threat by using murder and chaos to victimize innocent population in order to attain a specific political agenda. He has categorized terrorism into these types:
• Repressive kind
• Epiphenomenal kind
• Revolutionary kind
• Sub-revolutionary kind
In the end, O'Hair et al. (2007) agrees that terrorism occurs due to social discontentment and psychopathology. He maintains that there's a difference between homegrown and transactional terrorism. Similarly, in his research, Ranstorp (2006) has explained that terrorism doesn't occur due to disintegration of the lower population but rather elite's fragmentation. In other words, she means that it's just not the poverty stricken people engaged in terrorist's activities, but rather motivations can be different. Other studies too have shown that poverty has become a huge contender for terrorist behavior. However, according to Kirby (2007), present day terrorists were quite literate and well mannered. Some are even wealthy coming from good family backgrounds. Whatever the current discourse of terrorism, it is clear that current power balance between the citizens and their respective governments is so heavily inclined towards the government that it is not possible for non-state violent and extremist actors to exist and flourish devoid of government knowledge and backing. In homegrown terrorist organizations ideology is the key that holds the group together and lures in both the wealthy and the poor. In transactional terrorist organizations, poverty has been the driver that propels these homegrown extremist groups forward towards the completion of their agenda.
Homegrown terrorism and extremism is generally a reaction to preexisting society conditions and its framework. The motivations for a person to become a terrorist stem from religious radicalization, sovereignty, extremism and following some polarized independent ideology. Extremism and religious radicalization are important topics for homegrown terrorism. Terrorist activities are quite active in places such as Europe (Corse and Basque) and homegrown terrorism issue is not taken as seriously in America and EU as compared to international terrorism. According to Hoffman (2006) homegrown terrorism is quite prevalent both in America and EU. But international terrorism having political and radicalized motivations is stirring up storms within the political circles in both continents.
Current research on homegrown terrorism has pointed out religious terrorism stemming out of radical Islamic ideology. Lacey (2008) in this case, has examined cases of domestic terrorists since 1977. This was the time when Islamic terrorism started to rise as a movement, especially in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The threat of national jihad is high in America and Al Qaeda seems to be breeding such terrorists who declare themselves as martyrs in a holy cause. Therefore, homegrown terrorism has become a huge domestic problem but its reach can extend beyond domestic boundaries as well. It is the biggest threat that democracies face today. Local terrorist outfits coupled with radical ideology have become a threat, which many developed countries are afraid of. Homegrown terrorism as well as radicalization and extremism has become a huge threat to national security to both the U.S. And the EU. Homegrown terrorism is fast becoming one tough storm to deal with. Extremist homegrown groups are often downplayed due to global political terrorism as it evolves silently gaining little attention. Hence both the United States and European Union have a huge task at their hand to setup domestic counterterrorism policy and tackle homegrown as well as transactional terrorism.
The solutions offered in the literature for solving homegrown extremism
The present actions being by taken by the government is to safeguard the public and country itself. But no actions for addressing the motivations and needs for being a terrorist are taken in consideration. Extremism should be first lessened at the domestic level -- by dealing with homegrown extremists-- and then terrorist actors at the international level need to be dealt with. Cultural pluralism within the Muslim society cannot really curb terrorism in the bud but it will be observed less commonly afterwards. Cultural pluralism is a better approach to counter terrorism for now. According to Immanuel Kant's philosophy of cosmopolitan rights (as cited in Reiss, 1970), they have given a framework for solving injustices in a society and eliminating major amount of terrorism in general. Erasing injustice will erase terrorism not just domestically but all across the world. Such violent kinds of acts are inhumane and certainly violate freedom of expression, speech and movement. If there is injustice in a society, it shouldn't be countered by taking civilian lives. How is a person supposed to justify terrorism? Hence terrorism can be categorized in rational and irrational action.
Unreasonable and irrational actions mean those events where actions defy human logic for instance global jihad is one event where actions are just unreasonable and plain foolish. Furthermore it can't be prevented that easily. These extremists are basically firm believers in some polarized ideology. They have radical religious beliefs. According to O'Hair et al. (2008), they hold themselves above all forms of human made laws as ethics and code of conduct have no meaning in their eyes. Terrorism is a fundamental duty for such homegrown extremists and radical believers in polarized ideology. It is used as a weapon for mass fanaticism, which is sometimes based on religion. Meanwhile, the religious majority and leaders oppose such ideology and condemn such actions, the focus on sending a message is clear as daylight. For these homegrown extremists and fundamental radicals, they are bent on destroying certain populations from face of earth making them a source of danger on a global level. This is true especially for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party in India, which wishes to either physically eradicate all minorities from India or replacing their belief system and culture with their own.
Sociologists call them new religious movements (NRM's) (Hoffman, 2006). Radical international terrorists groups such as Al Qaeda as well as RSS have chosen suicide as a noble way to die in order to obtain a political change. In order to relieve fellow humans and themselves, these homegrown extremists and radical groups follow the path of terrorism. The person is under same pressure as everyone else but determines to change his political circumstances in a different way. There are mixed motivations called relative deprivation theory, in which a person takes a different path from that of normal humans due to being excluded from social circles and sometimes financial crisis (Hoffman, 2006). Therefore, in order to seek change and liberation, they find refuge in extremism, which provides sanctity to their souls.
Holding a government responsible for fulfilling its promises is entirely plausible as it is a rightful demand. These religious homegrown extremists are illogical in their actions resorting to violence as they can't validate their actions themselves. The action could be fueled by personal beliefs and not believing in a certain doctrine, both grounds have inconclusive grounds. In any case, holding a government responsible for present situations in a country and resorting to violence with no intent of negotiation isn't really helping matters. Terrorists as mentioned before have no boundaries and limits, internationally and nationally. These religious fundamentals and extremists separate themselves from the society rendering a deaf ear to reason and logic. They disavow positive change and negotiation. At this point, violence can't be prevented as it's the only logical choice.
Rational yet unreasonable action means actions which fall outside the humanitarian law yet still have some logic. Humans view them inhumane acts, but nevertheless action becomes logical as it's driven by sound reason. Since…