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Combatting Jihadist Terrorism: A Quality-of-Life Perspective

M. Joseph Sirgy (), Richard J. Estes () and Don R. Rahtz ()
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M. Joseph Sirgy: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Richard J. Estes: University of Pennsylvania
Don R. Rahtz: College of William & Mary

Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2018, vol. 13, issue 4, 813-837

Abstract: Abstract Many scholars and commentators have written on ways to counteract acts of terrorism initiated by Islamist militants associated with Jihadist groups operating predominantly in the Middle East and North Africa Region (hereafter the MENA region). Most of what has been published in the academic literature with respect to slowing, eventually stopping, the rate of Islamist-inspired terrorism has focused on short-term public safety solutions to the problem. In this paper, we build a quality-of-life model to address the drivers of Jihadist terrorism and deduce the underlying factors that contribute to counterterrorism programs directly from our understanding of these drivers. Specifically, we provide suggestive evidence to show increased incidence of Jihadist terrorism is mostly motivated by increased negative sentiment of aggrieved Muslims toward their more affluent Western neighbors. This negative sentiment is influenced by a host of quality-of-life factors: economic ill-being factors (e.g., income disparities, poverty, and unemployment; and disparities in technological innovation), political ill-being factors (e.g., authoritarian tribal and exclusionary regimes), religious ill-being factors (e.g., increased Islamic religiosity, and lack of secularism), globalization and media ill-being factors (e.g., the global media), and cultural ill-being factors (e.g., perceived decadence of Western culture, and Western prejudice and discrimination). More effective counterterrorism strategies are deduced directly from understanding how these quality-of-life factors influence increased incidence of Jihadist terrorism.

Keywords: Positive psychology; Quality-of-life intervention programs; Middle East and North Africa; Counterterrorism; Jihadist terrorism; Relative deprivation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:ariqol:v:13:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11482-017-9574-z