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Confronting Apocalyptic Terrorism: Lessons from France and Japan

RadicalisationRegionsTerms and DefinitionsWorld

Studies in Conflict & TerrorismJournal abstract

Terrorists who believe they have a role to play in bringing about the apocalypse pose a serious threat to countries around the world. In their quest to eradicate this especially pernicious form of terrorism, states, including liberal democratic ones, confront the understandable temptation to eliminate such groups through brute force: repression of apocalyptic groups and their constituencies at home and overwhelming military force abroad. Using a comparative case study of France and Japan, this article argues that such policies actually serve to perpetuate the very conditions that generate further terrorism rooted in apocalyptic beliefs. France’s policies of repression of Islam at home and militarism abroad have had the unintended consequence of encouraging attacks by those affiliated with the apocalyptic group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Conversely, the case of Japan shows that successfully combating apocalyptic terrorism requires far more understated measures, including respecting religious rights at home and caution in using force abroad.

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