An Analysis of Islamist Terrorism Across Western Countries

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Description: Islamist terrorism is an ongoing threat to Western countries. This paper tests two main hypotheses: first, that percentage of Muslims in the population is associated with Islamist terrorism across Western countries; and second, that military intervention in the Middle East is associated with Islamist terrorism across Western countries. For the purpose of testing these hypotheses, four separate measures of Islamist terrorism are utilised: first, number of Islamist terrorist attacks per capita (logged); second, number of casualties from Islamist terrorism per capita (logged); third, terrorism threat level reported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British government; and fourth, number of arrests for religiously inspired terrorism per capita (logged). The paper finds that percentage of Muslims in the population (logged) has a relatively strong association with the first (r = .62; β = 0.43–0.66), third (r = .67; β = 0.33–0.72) and fourth (r = .63; β = 0.44–0.71) measures of Islamist terrorism, but a somewhat weaker association with the second (r = .42; β = 0.16–0.46); while military intervention in the Middle East has a fairly strong relationship with the second (d = 0.53–1.27, r = .41; β = 0.29–0.46) and third (d = 0.69–1.97, r = .40; β = 0.38–0.55) measures, but an inconsistently significant relationship with the first (d = 0.54–1.53, r = .22; β = 0.24–0.39) and fourth (d = 0.39–1.72, r = .30; β = 0.35–0.43).

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