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Definition of Terrorism

* Terrorism is a term that has been much bandied about in recent times in the world media. This paper was presented by the author, who is Director of the International Relations Department of the I.P.O., at the International Conference on Terrorism called by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Geneva, from June 22-26, 1987. It is an attempt to define terrorism and to put it in a broad perspective.

Resolution 20/5-P (1.5) of the Fifth Islamic Summit supported the idea of an international conference to be convened under the aegis of the United Nations in order to discuss the subject of international terrorism and to differentiate it from the struggle of peoples for their acknowledged national causes and the liberation of their territories.

This means that we should, at this meeting, take into consideration the following steps:

(i) To refer, first of all, to Islamic sources in order to set the major criteria, to identify the principles according to which the humanity aims and actions is to be assessed, and to make such principles the basis of our judgement in the various cases.

(ii) To examine genuine human nature unblemished by any considerations of narrow interests, in order to identify human rules that can be put forth at the international level as a general human criterion For this purpose, the results of our studies must cover the various fields of the international scene and constitute a general action framework.

(iii) From these Islamic and human principles, we deduce a general comprehensive and exclusive definition, i.e. encompassing all the real attributes of terrorism and excluding the alleged criteria of terrorism which cannot be treated as such by lofty principles.

(iv) Then, we should apply the criteria set forth to all the national and international instances of alleged terrorism. We should examine each of them closely in the light of the results, then put forward an appropriate and precise judgement which is free from any ambiguity or connivance and to confer on each act its true adjective.

Adapted from: "Towards a Definition of Terrorism" by: "Ayatullah Taskhiri"

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