In March 2007, Europol published its first annual report on terrorism in the EU. The "EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report” is also known as TE-SAT. With respect to the subject matter of this blog, what useful information about supposedly "religiously motivated" terrorism can we find in the TE-SAT?
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, in an article on the TE-SAT, points out that Europol has reported that the "increase in homegrown terrorists is partly the result of an increase in quantity and a "new quality" in jihadi propaganda in Europe." What we might find the most interesting about the TE-SAT is the persistent use of the term "Islamist." Europol seems to have accepted this term as a proper adjective to describe terrorist acts carried out by groups that base their agendas and targets, at least to some degree, on their view of Islam. However, as Karen Armstrong has written, "These acts may be committed by people who call themselves Muslims, but they violate essential Islamic principles." Regardless of such deficiencies in terminology, the TE-SAT understands "Islamist terrorism" to be "motivated either in whole or in part by an extreme interpretation of Islam and the use of violence is regarded by its practitioners as a divine duty or sacramental act."