Definition of Terrorism


There have been several definitions of terrorism which vary with different people and organizations. Terrorism experts have differing views from investigation authorities. As much as these definitions differ, the deviation is not with a wide range as they all relate to the same issue.


Bruce Hoffman is one of the many remarkable experts of theory relating to terrorism. His definition of terrorism is Terrorism is, therefore, an action intended to cause destruction, pain or suffering or similarly an expression of intent to injure or punish another person which is employed and aimed at a political track (Hoffman, 2015). The definition looks into the intent of destruction about politics, but there is no explanation as to who is involved in planning the crime or those who will be affected by the crime and being targeted by those who are planning conducting criminal activity. The intent of destruction is displayed, and there is a relation that the attack is not necessarily the most important requisite and that the intent of destruction is the most notable element of likelihood of a terror attack.

The Central Intelligence Department uses its own definition of terrorism as up to date which states that terrorism means action aimed to bring about destruction that has been planned at an earlier time ahead of the attack itself, which has been provided incentive by the political environment and committed against fighters who are not armed by people from subdivisions of a nation or undercover agents (White, 2016).

The definition of the FBI is that terrorism is the prohibited use of force towards people or property to a bash or bully a government, the population of that nation or any other group due to selfish political ambitions (Chomsky, 2015).

The British Security Service (M15) publicly discusses and transmits information about the innate characteristics of terrorism as a notion and, after that sets examples of what intents to destruction include to provide a summary as to what terrorism is all about. Thus, it defines terrorism as the employment or expression of intent to injure or punish that is structured to manipulate the government or an international governmental institute or to a bash the people as a whole or a section of people in a nation; which is aimed at the religious, political, racial or ideological aspects of the people; where there is involvement of critical damage to people and property; wrongful intent on the lives of people which lead to risks relating to health and safety of the general public; or solemn disruption of systems pertaining to the internet (Combs,2017).

There is information about property, health and safety and systems about the internet which is clearly notable in the definition. Racial motives together with religion have also been mentioned which can be a reflection of the nature of terrorism and the areas in which terrorism have leaned on mostly (Martin, 2017).

Comparing and Contrasting definition of terrorism of the FBI to that of the British Security Service


Both definitions describe the motive of terrorism, that is, terrorism is aimed at bringing destruction to the people of a particular area. In both definitions, destruction is one of the key themes that brought into the limelight.

Both definitions associate terrorism to ill political ambitions. The government of a particular nation is the most affected party in case of a terror attack. There is light shed that political nature of a country is the main focus in terrorist attacks.


The FBI definition mostly focuses on political ambitions. It implies that political matters are the most affected in case of a terror attack. On the other hand, the British Security Service outlays all the areas that are greatly affected and the leniency of terror attacks where religious beliefs, racial, political and ideological aspects are mentioned.

The FBI definition does not outline the effects of terror attacks to the general public which is an important aspect. In contrast, the British Security Service outlines effects that are related to terror attacks which include health and safety risks for the public and high destruction of important systems relating to internet connections in a nation. Explaining the effects is important since the public can feel accommodated and looked after by their government and other governmental organizations.

FBI definition does not imply that there is an effect on the property. On the other hand, British Security Service states that there is also the destruction of property upon the occurrence of a terror attack.

Most viable definition

The British Security Service (M15) definition is the most viable. It shows all the areas that are affected by terror attacks. All the characteristics associated with terror attacks are hence brought into the limelight. This definition is more viable since its openly communicated meaning that the general public has an opportunity to learn about terrorism. With knowledge about the effects terrorism could bring about, people can be more alert, and thus they feel included and protected by the government. Moreover, there is clarity on the areas terror attacks tend to lean on mostly. This way, there is more awareness about the nature of terrorism and people can be protected especially since there will be knowledge about, for instance, the most targeted race and religion. This way the government can be able to provide more protection to its people.

Recommendation for change

There should be more addition on the nature of terrorism for example; there should be an explanation as to why terrorist attacks occur since violence is associated with reason. Need to abash political system is not enough reason why terror attacks happen; there are other reasons that terrorists look into to feel the need to conduct an attack on a country. The definition thus ought to be more specific on the causes of these attacks. This way, the public being educated on this issue will become more knowledgeable. If it’s something that they may be doing that is provoking these attacks, they will be hence more careful to ease the anger of terrorists. Moreover, the public can develop methods of easing the effects of the attacks. This means that the public becomes more alert and can assist the government.

Personal definition of terrorism

Terrorism is the ill intent of people to perform destructive things on other people due to differences in cultural beliefs, religion, race and political settings. These ill intentions are associated with the destruction of a nation of people and property thus prohibition of growth.

Destruction of a nation is the key point in this definition. This is the ultimate effect that terrorist attacks have on nations. When people are killed, property destroyed and the government becomes restless, there will be no development of that nation. The state of the economy in such a nation will deteriorate. This is because the people remaining will have no motivation to work hard due to fear of more attacks.












Hoffman, B., & Strindberg, A. (Eds.). (2015). Terrorism and Beyond (RLE: Terrorism & Insurgency): The 21st Century (Vol. 6). Routledge.

Martin, G. (2017). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, perspectives, and issues. SAGE publications.

Combs, C. C. (2017). Terrorism in the twenty-first century. Routledge.

White, J. R. (2016). Terrorism and homeland security. Cengage Learning.

Chomsky, N. (2015). The culture of Terrorism. Haymarket Books.


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