Religious terror attacks rare in US

May 31st, 2009 - 12:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 31 (ANI): In a new study, researchers have estimated that in the United States, terror attacks on religious targets are relatively rare, but often deadly.

The study was carried out by the University of Maryland-based National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

The researchers add that private businesses are the most frequent US target.

START compiled the data following arrests by the FBI in the alleged terrorist plot to bomb a New York City synagogue and Jewish community center and shoot down military aircraft.

The targeting of a military aircraft by terrorists in the US may be a first, the researchers add.

The data comes from START’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD) - the world’s biggest and most comprehensive open-source terror database, including information on over 80,000 attacks between 1970 and 2007.

According to the data, there have been 25 terrorist attacks against religious figures or institutions in the United States, four of which were unsuccessful attempts.

These 25 attacks resulted in a total of eight fatalities. Nine of the 25 attacks involved explosives or bombs.

Nine of these attacks involved Jewish targets, including synagogues in Dallas, Nashville, New York, and Sacramento.

While attacks against religious targets are far more rare than attacks against business targets in the US, 20 percent of all US attacks on religious figures and institutions result in at least one fatality compared to only 4 percent of all US attacks on private businesses.

“People often have a misleading conception of terrorism,” said University of Maryland professor Gary LaFree, who directs START and the GTD.

“The 9/11 attack has become the symbol of terrorism - even though it was an incredibly atypical event. Unlike 9/11, most terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere come from domestic groups, not international ones,” he explained.

“Unlike 9/11, most attacks do not involve in-depth planning or sophisticated weaponry. Unlike al Qaeda, most terrorist groups are not long lasting. There’s no denying the impact of 9/11, in part, precisely because it was so unusual,” he added. (ANI)

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