By Crystal Ja | August 20
AN Australian sociologist who has compiled a comprehensive database of suicide attacks claims bombers "are not mad" and there appears to be no set demographics for potential attackers.
Suicide attacks are usually carried out by young and vengeful men, who are completely sane, sociologist Professor Riaz Hassan says.
Prof Hassan has analysed every suicide attack in the world since 1981, seeking to explain the reasons behind the actions.
He found there were more than 1,200 suicide attacks since 1981 killing at least 5,766 people. Iraq topped the list with 651 attacks occurring in the war-torn nation.
This was three times as many as Israel/Palestine with 217 incidents, followed by Sri Lanka (93) and Lebanon (48).
Prof Hassan, from South Australia's Flinders University, said after analysing the data, there appeared to be no set demographics for potential bombers.
The majority were young men, but their driving factors were widely varied, from personal motivations to societal conditions to being directed by others.
The study clearly refuted a common belief that suicide bombers were insane or mentally unbalanced, Prof Hassan said.
"It largely discredits explanations that (they) ... are acts of abhorrent violence, perpetrated by the psychologically impaired, morally deficient, bizarre, sick and crazy," he said.
"Suicide bombers are not mad.
"And public policies which take cue from such explanations ... do not focus on societal conditions which may have given rise to the phenomenon."
The first suicide attacks happened in the 1970s, but it wasn't until 2003 when the world - or Iraq, specifically - endured a massive spike in incidents.
Prof Hassan believes suicide bombing is mostly a desperate action to right social wrongs.
Making efforts to improve human rights - such as the treatment of refugees - would halve the number of suicide attacks, he forecast, pointing out the treatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners in Baghdad led to another spike in suicide attacks.
Suicide bombers were spurred on by the humiliation suffered by those in their community, he said.
Most believed their lives were worth less than the collective's honour.
It would be impossible to stamp out suicide attacks unless real changes were made to improve social conditions in countries around the world, Prof Hassan said.
Source: The Australian