Global Terrorism Index finds soaring rise in attacks; sees religious ideology links

(REUTERS / Brent Smith)Paula and Ed Kassig, parents of U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, pause while reading a statement while speaking to the press in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 17, 2014. The parents of Peter, beheaded by Islamic State militants after his abduction in Syria, asked for prayers for other captives in Syria and Iraq in a brief public statement at their Indianapolis church on Monday. Abdul-Rahman Kassig, whose name was Peter before his conversion to Islam, was the fifth European or American captive killed by the militants. His severed head was seen in a video that was released on Sunday and also showed the beheading of at least 14 men.

The Global Terrorism Index has recently released information to better understand terrorism and its impact globally, noting "Terrorism has become a global phenomenon" and is often linked to religious ideology.

The second edition of the GTI gave a summary on the patterns of terrorism over the last 14 years, beginning in 2000 and ending in 2013.

The report found a dramatic increase in the number of terrorist attacks. . Eighty percent of all terrorism occurred in only five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria.

Iraq was the most affected by terrorism with 2,492 terrorist attacks last year, killing 6,362 people.

In 2013, terrorist activity increased substantially with the total number of deaths rising from 11,133 in 2012 to 17,958 in 2013, a 61 per cent increase.

Only four terrorist organizations claimed 66 per cent of the deaths in 2013. These terrorist groups were: the Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Common to these groups were variations of religious ideologies based on extreme interpretations of Wahhabi Islam.

An important finding in the report is the revelation that there was no strong link between poverty and terrorism.

The GTI found that people who join terrorist groups in wealthy countries are well educated and come from middle class families.

At the same time, in 2012, the number of people killed by homicide was 40 times greater than those killed by terrorism.

The report also mentioned that terrorist killings involving more than 100 deaths were rare and represented only one in 100 terrorist incidents, noting that performing such task require resources and planning.

Countries with the highest rates of terrorism were: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen, Philippines, and Thailand.

All 10 have significant Muslim populations.

The rates of corruption, political terror, and political instability are also significantly higher in the 10 countries than the international average.

The Gallup World Values Survey said that these "countries experience 11 per cent more people facing a bribe situation than the international average."

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