General Article Terrorist or extremist activity

Topic Selected: Terrorism
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What is terrorism and violent extremist activity?

Trying to define terrorism can be difficult and controversial, because so many people and countries see it differently. But any definition usually includes:

  • mass intimidation – trying to make lots of people scared to go about their everyday or normal life;
  • unlawful violence or the threat of violence against the public;
  • violence intended to change a law, culture or political system, or to change how people think or act.

Having extreme thoughts or beliefs is not a crime. Using unlawful force or threats to support a belief or ideology is.

These criminal acts can include threatening someone because they are a different race, religion or sexual orientation; causing damage to property to get a political point of view across; or setting off a bomb to kill or injure people.

Case studies

Case study 1

On 7 July 2005 four men set off home-made bombs on three London underground trains and a bus, killing 52 people and injuring over 7...

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