Nationalistic terrorism is an outgrowth of an unwavering devotion and loyalty to a specific group that believes they have been suppressed, treated unfairly, or persecuted by the ruling majority of the country in which they live. Groups are defined by ethnicity (racial or cultural background), language, religion, or customs. Nationalist terrorism calls attention to the plight of the group. The goal is to eventually secure a separate independent homeland or country for the group. The following are examples of groups who engage in terrorism for nationalistic reasons.
Arabs living in the land known as Palestine from which the Jewish nation, Israel, was created in 1948 began nationalistic terrorist activities around 1970. The most active Arab Palestinian terrorist organizations in the early 2000s were HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) and Hezbollah (Party of God). HAMAS cells (small units serving as part of or the center of a larger political movement) are based in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. Hezbollah (also spelled Hizbollah) cells are based in Lebanon and worldwide. Other active Arab Palestinian groups include Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Hoping to convince the Spanish government to create an independent Basque homeland, Basque terrorists of northern Spain carry out activities within Spain. The largest Basque terror group is Basque Fatherland and Liberty, or Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA). Because their goal is to separate the Basque people from Spain, ETA is also commonly referred to as the Basque Separatists.
Kashmir, an area between India and Pakistan, is populated by people of the Islamic faith. Those who follow the religion of Islam are called Muslims. The predominant religion of India is Hinduism although many Muslims also live there. India has no official religion. Pakistan's population is Muslim, and Islam is its official religion. Both Pakistan and India have long clashed over the control of Kashmir. The people of Kashmir, however, want to be an independent Islamic state.
Major Islamic terrorist groups fighting to create that independent state are Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT), meaning "Army of the Pure," Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM). Although the terrorists of Kashmir are predominately thought of as nationalistic terrorists, their struggle is an example of a nationalistic cause interlocked with a religious struggle.
The Irish Catholic population of Northern Ireland, ruled by Britain, wants independence from Britain and to be part of the Republic of Ireland. The Protestant population of Northern Ireland resists the movement away from Britain. The major nationalistic terrorist group in 2004 working for separation from England is the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA). Again, the RIRA's nationalist struggle has religious overtones.
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