The recent terror attacks in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, are consistent with the work of “fourth generation terrorists”, according to a specialist in the psychology of terror.
Psychology lecturer at Charles Darwin University, Dr Peter Forster has studied the psychology of terror for several years with the aim to better understand the main factors and current thoughts about the phenomenon.
Dr Forster said that although the attacks on Mumbai appeared to be the work of a group seeking to remove the Indian presence in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the exploitation of the media for maximum worldwide publicity indicated that the group also had a much larger audience in mind.
“One of the features of the Mumbai attacks is the extent to which they were more directed at a worldwide audience rather than the people who are directly being attacked,” Dr Forster said.
“The attacks can be seen as part of what is increasingly referred to as ‘fourth generation terrorism’ that uses violent attacks in conjunction with propaganda via the internet and other media networks, and also cyber attacks, economic attacks and more.”
Dr Forster said the evolution of “fourth generation terrorism” required a response at many levels, some aspects of which were still relatively undeveloped in the West.
“These attacks are consistent with the work of extreme Islamic jihadists who are seeking a worldwide Caliphate (the traditional Islamic form of government), as well as pursuing more local goals,” he said.
“They were extremely well organised in a way that is characteristic of groups affiliated with al Qaeda and also very effective at causing fear and disruption among those who are influential in the Indian economy and so causing considerable disruption to the Indian economy itself.
“For these groups, all infidels and particularly those of the Western democracies, are not just a threat to Islam, but they represent all that is corrupt, decadent and evil, and which therefore deserves to be wiped from the face of the earth.”