Terrorism conversation questions

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This is a potentially controversial subject in some societies, and consequently some teachers may want to carefully consider if they wish to use all of these questions.

Terrorism[edit]

  • What is terrorism?
  • What is the objective of terrorism? Do all terrorists have the same objectives or do they differ?
  • What is the difference between a "terrorist" and a "freedom fighter"?
  • "Direct action" is an activity which ranges from civil disobedience to outright violence. Is it just a synonym for terrorism?
  • What, if any, is the difference between political and religious terrorism?
  • What effect would special laws to deal with terrorists have?
  • If the death penalty was applicable to terrorist acts, what effect would this have?
  • Some people argue that if people can't express themselves democratically - for instance if they can't vote to change the government - they are justified in carrying out terrorist actions. What is your opinion?
  • Some individuals claim that, even in a democracy, they cannot make their voices heard and this entitles them to take "direct action" against the state. What is your opinion?
  • Under what circumstances would you fight against the state?
  • If an organisation only targets military forces and does not target civilians, is it still a terrorist organisation? Why, why not?
  • Where were you, and what were you doing, when your learned about the 9/11 attacks in the US?

Other violent protests[edit]

  • Some "fighters for animal rights" and the environment are sometimes accused of terrorist acts. What do you think of the people who carry out violent acts in the name of the environment?
    • The organisation "Sea Shepherd" takes "direct action" against Japanese whalers. One Japanese seaman has died apparently as a result of their actions.
    • Animal rights activists in the UK sent a letter bomb to an establishment and the person who opened the bomb lost an eye.
    • Animal rights activists have released mink into the UK. These are very active predators which damage the local environment.
  • Ant-abortion "activists" in the US have attacked clinics and were responsible for the death of one doctor. What is your opinion on this?

See also[edit]